Don’t Forget… to Exercise your Brain: Know the Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

Don’t Forget… to Exercise your Brain: Know the Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and November 15th is National Memory Screening Day.

Research suggests lifestyle changes can reduce risk for dementia. A new, theoretical analysis finds that about half of the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease are potentially changeable, and that reducing them could substantially decrease the number of new cases of disease worldwide. Similar to the idea that joint health starts with physical exercise to keep your muscles strong, brain health starts with social and mental exercise to reduce stress, strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and possibly even create new nerve cells.

So if you want to keep your knees, exercise your leg muscles, and if you want to keep your wits, exercise your brain.

Here's a memory checklist put forth by The Memory Disorder Center at North Broward (Florida) Medical Center.

  1. Are you having trouble with your short-term memory?
  2. Do you need reminders to do things like chores, shopping, or taking medicine?
  3. Do you forget appointments, family occasions, or holidays?
  4. Do you feel sad, down, or cry more often than in the past?
  5. Are you having trouble doing calculations, managing finances, or balancing the checkbook?
  6. Have you lost interest in your usual activities such as hobbies, reading, attending religious services, or other social activities?
  7. Are there concerns about your driving, for example getting lost or driving unsafely, or have you had to stop driving? (If you have never driven, answer “No”)?
  8. Do you have trouble finding words you want to say, finishing your sentences, or naming people or things?

If you answered yes to five or more questions, it is recommended that you discuss this with your healthcare professional.

JF&CS offers neuropsychological evaluations for older adults. These non-invasive, paper and pencil type tests are designed to provide information about an individual’s memory and cognitive functioning to determine if problems are consistent with normal age-related cognitive decline or some other cause.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Howell, please contact Cori Sackin, Resource Support Specialist in Tools for Aging, at 770.677.9411 or  csackin@jfcs-atlanta.org.

Written by Sarah Howell, Posted in Aviv Older Adult Services

About the Author

Sarah Howell

Sarah Howell

Dr. Sarah Howell oversees neuropsychological evaluations in the Aviv Older Adult Services - Tools for Aging program to help identify dementia or other cognitive impairments that might affect independent living.