Caring for Caregivers: Prioritize Brain Health to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
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Caring for Caregivers: Prioritize Brain Health to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Home Instead shares tips for prioritizing one's well-being during World Alzheimer's Month

OMAHA, Neb., Sept. 18, 2023 // PRNewswire // - As the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's continues to rise – now exceeding 6 million Americans – the dedicated caregivers supporting these older adults find themselves confronted with challenges such as managing high stress levels, dealing with sleep deprivation and struggling to find time for self-care. Unfortunately for caregivers, these factors are known to contribute to the development of the disease, putting them at greater risk.

Eighty percent of Alzheimer's care is provided in the home, not a facility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Home Instead® recognizes the vital role caregivers have in the lives of individuals affected by Alzheimer's. Beyond providing care to those with the disease, it's important to protect the well-being of Alzheimer's caregivers themselves.

"Among the most common concerns our Care Professionals hear from family caregivers is that they don't want their own children to become family caregivers," said Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Ph.D., gerontologist and caregiving advocate at Home Instead. "Alzheimer's is a difficult disease to live with for everyone involved. Carving time for self-care might feel selfish, but it's the most productive action you can take to keep your future self healthy."

On Thursday, Sept. 21, at 12:00PM CDT, Home Instead is hosting a virtual brain health workshop for family caregivers to learn more about how maintaining a healthy brain can positively impact your memory and help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

During World Alzheimer's Month, Home Instead is calling attention to the connection between healthy habits and brain health and encouraging caregivers to prioritize their needs. Growing evidence suggests that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle changes. But major changes can feel overwhelming to those caring for loved ones. Here are suggestions for simple steps even the busiest caregivers can incorporate to prioritize themselves:

  • Exercise to promote cardiovascular health. Those who exercise have a lower risk of developing cognitive decline. Even 30 minutes of movement can make a difference. Activities like walking, swimming and light jogging boost heart rate and preserve mental function.
  • Eat right to fuel the brain. Choose lean meats and olive oil-enriched foods to enhance brain health, mood and memory. Reducing red meat and saturated fats can alleviate brain fog, sluggishness and exhaustion.
  • Sleep and relax. Sleep detoxes the brain and promotes tissue healing. Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep a night to promote optimal health. Trouble sleeping? Consider trying an eye mask or sleeping app.
  • Maintain social connections. Studies have shown those with the most social interaction within their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline. Regular social interaction, such as a phone call with a friend, can slow memory decline, particularly if you live alone.
  • Engage your brain. People who continue to learn, embrace new activities, and develop new skills are building and improving the networks in their brain. Stay curious and engage in brain games like crosswords, puzzles, bingo or phone apps to keep your mind active.
  • Take a positive approach to stress management. Chronic stress can harm the brain, affecting memory and mood regulation. Focus on the present, embrace natural events and think positively to reduce stress. Practice deep breathing and positive mantras multiple times a day to help you reset.

SOURCE Home Instead, Inc.

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