The figures are staggering and there’s little awareness that more than 413,000 people in Australia live with dementia. By 2050 that figure will rise to almost one million.
“Dementia can’t directly be prevented or cured but reducing risk is important,” Alzheimer’s Australia chief executive officer
Maree McCabe says. “Many people are not aware of what they can do to reduce the risk of getting dementia.”
Look after your heart: Look after your heart health by regularly checking your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Challenge your brain: Exercising your brain is also important. Find something that involves learning new skills – and keep on learning. Try a new sport, learn a new language, start a course, study for a new qualification at work or take up a new hobby.
Be active: “Being physically active increases blood flow to the brain and this stimulates growth of the brain cells and the connections between them,” Maree says.
Enjoy social activity: Social activity has benefits in a range of areas, including cognitive function. Make time to catch up with family and friends, join a social club or interest group, or volunteer in your community.
Follow a healthy diet: “We need a balanced diet to maintain brain health and function, and some foods may be more directly linked to dementia and reducing your risk,” Maree says.
For more information, call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit yourbrainmatters.org.au
By Sarah Marinos