Kensington Senior Living is a proud supporter and sponsor of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) and Hilarity for Charity (HFC). Both of these organizations feature brain health experts, celebrity advocates, and more to bring awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and improve brain health.
This free, virtual gathering is hosted by Maria Shriver, influential journalist and founder of WAM, and Lauren Miller Rogen, actor and co-founder of HFC with her husband Seth Rogen.
The Brain It On Virtual Summit includes special guests ranging from celebrities to medical doctors to educate viewers on the connection between Alzheimer’s and brain health.
Register your spot in the Brain It On Virtual Summit today!
If you’re a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or curious about Alzheimer’s, you can learn many valuable insights from this free virtual summit filled with actionable steps to fight Alzheimer’s and improve brain health.
How Alzheimer’s or Dementia Progresses: The Different Stages
Alzheimer’s usually progresses into three different stages. While Alzheimer’s and dementia are sometimes used interchangeably, dementia is a more general term that refers to mental decline caused by Alzheimer’s or other brain diseases.
A person who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on average lives about 4-8 years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years in some cases.
People in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s can still live functional, independent lives, however, they begin to experience memory loss.
This can include difficulties coming up with the right words to use, forgetting to pay bills, being repetitive, calling people by the wrong name, or becoming increasingly forgetful even when they just read something.
It’s usually during the mild stage of Alzheimer’s when friends and family begin to take notice and become concerned that their loved one’s memory loss is progressing into something more serious.
This stage is the longest stage of Alzheimer’s. It typically lasts several years. People living in the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s will require more help from their caregivers to complete their activities of daily living, as they should no longer be driving themselves, for example.
At this stage, nerve cells in the brain become more damaged, causing a loved one to lose more of their independence.
Memory loss will become even more pronounced, and a person’s behavior and mood can become drastically different, including getting more frustrated or angry quicker.
Other symptoms include increased memory loss, forgetting important information such as their address and phone number, forgetting what day it is, as well as having trouble getting dressed, or controlling their bladder or bowels.
For this reason, many families look to memory care communities that can provide around-the-clock care and support for their loved ones to assist with completing their activities of daily living.
The last stage of Alzheimer’s is the most severe. Loved ones in this stage are likely no longer responsive to their environment, have difficulty swallowing and eating, and have great difficulties communicating.
Changes in personality are very pronounced and people in the late stages of Alzheimer’s need much more assistance to perform every activity of daily living.
Even though people in this stage have trouble communicating, they are still responsive to a loving gentle touch, benefitting from looking through old family photos and watching family videos, and listening to their favorite, familiar songs.
Once a loved one reaches the very late stage of Alzheimer’s, they may require hospice care.
Lifestyle Changes to Incorporate Early to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Improve Brain Health
Improving brain health is a life-long journey, just as any health and fitness plan is. Here are the best ways you can stave off mental decline to maintain your optimal brain health.
Eating for Brain Health
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables, fish, nuts, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil or Omega-3s has been proven to lessen the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
The typical Mediterranean diet incorporates all of these healthy foods and has no shortage of delicious recipes to keep you and your loved one satisfied.
Because diabetes has been shown to increase the risk factor of developing Alzheimer’s, it’s important to cut out excess sugar, which can cause weight gain, lethargy, and inflammation that can contribute to Alzheimer’s.
The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be emphasized enough. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is recommended to help the brain reset itself and restore its mental health.
It’s also theorized that sleep helps the brain clear out beta-amyloids, the proteins that often clump together to cause Alzheimer’s.
Oftentimes seniors have trouble sleeping or don’t get enough sleep. If your loved one has difficulty getting rest, have them try these tips to improve their relaxation:
- Limit caffeine intake several hours before sleep
- Turn off the TV and phones or tablets an hour before going to sleep
- Meditate for 10 minutes doing a mindful meditation
- Develop a more regular sleep routine
If snoring or sleep apnea affects sleep, then make sure to address those problems so your loved one can sleep restfully.
Regular exercise is also beneficial to improve brain health, reduce stress levels, and promote more restful sleep.
Peace of Mind
Increased stress is a precursor to many diseases and ailments, including Alzheimer’s.
Stress can lead to depression and anxiety, which are factors that can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
To combat stress, mindful meditation practices are advised. Reducing stress through meditation will help your loved one get to sleep easier, reduce their cardiovascular risk, and reduce their blood pressure, all of which have a positive effect on improving their brain health.
Women’s Brain Health
Hormones set a key difference in the brain health between men and women. Women make up two out of three Alzheimer’s patients.
Estradiol, a form of estrogen, is produced by a woman’s ovaries and plays an important role in her brain health. After menopause, estradiol levels are greatly reduced, which causes brain changes in women and makes them more susceptible to brain disease.
Researchers now are beginning to explore the results of hormone replacement therapy for women to view the long-term cognitive impacts as a way of preventing Alzheimer’s from developing.
Kensington Place: An Enhanced Memory Care Community For Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s
If you’re the caregiver of someone with memory loss or Alzheimer’s, please contact us for more information about the benefits of transitioning your loved one into a community setting.
At Kensington Place, we extend Our Promise to you: to love and care for your loved one as we would our own.