Living Well with Dementia
Dementia may cause a significant change in your life and the lives of those around you but it should not define who you are nor should you be sad about it. Maintaining your wellbeing is important and minor adjustments in your current lifestyle may have a positive impact on your life.
Recently, the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) a multi-center, randomized, controlled trial utilized a multi-domain intervention approach with the following components: dietary guidance, physical activity, cognitive training and social activities, and intensive monitoring and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors. The multi-domain intervention showed significant beneficial effects on overall cognitive performance and more specifically on the following cognitive domains: memory, executive function and psychomotor speed. Hence, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will definitely have positive impact on you.
Diet and Nutrition:
Eat the right amount of food for your level of activity.
Eat a well balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables at least 5 portions per day, whole grains, low fat milk and meat products, fish at least two portions per week and sucrose intake of less than 50g/day. Additional dietary measures may be necessary depending on the individual needs related to your medical history.
Drink around 8 glasses of water to stop getting dehydrated.
Incorporate exercise into your daily activities such as walking and using stairs if there will be no contraindication to it.
You may incorporate strength training program which includes exercises for the 8 main muscle groups (knee extension and flexion, abdomen and back muscles, rotation, upper back and arm muscles, press bench for lower extremity muscles); and postural balance exercises. You may consult your doctor and physiotherapists about it.
Cognitive training and Social Activity:
If you are still able to work then keep on working if it will make you feel good about yourself and give you a sense of achievement.
You can also do volunteering work which interests you and in which you can showcase your skills.
Learn new things. Now could be the perfect time for you to have a new hobby or interest like singing, dancing, painting, art crafts, gardening or sports. It will not only exercise your brain but it will give you opportunity to develop yourself and build new friendships and social circles.
You may enroll in a formal cognitive training program conducted by a licensed psychologists. You can also involve yourself in computer-based exercises with individual adjusted increase in difficulty levels for maximal effect.
Find out what things are going in your neighborhood. Join social activities either in your community or in care centers
Monitoring and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors
Avoid excessive alcohol drinking.
Monitor your weight and blood pressure regularly.
Whatever medical illness you have, it is important to regularly see your doctor for monitoring and medication adjustment if needed.