Anybody managing dementia will have bad days as well as good ones, but an emphasis on living a healthier life can help you live well with dementia, and to focus your energy on what’s most important.
Living a healthy life with dementia involves examining your day-to-day lifestyle, and finding ways to nurture your wellbeing. When you focus on sustaining your physical, emotional and social health, life becomes more manageable.
Discover five tips to help you live well with dementia.
1.) Get plenty of exercise
It has been proven in a variety of studies that exercise for people managing Mild Cognitive Impairment can be significantly beneficial. It’s suggested that even mild physical activity delays a decline in thinking skills, lowers stress and may even reduce the risk of falling. It’s also thought that exercise may protect brain health through the benefits it provides to the cardiovascular system. Engaging in a short exercise class or a brisk 20 minute walk will be of large benefit to your cognitive as well as physical health.
2.) Support your health with regular check-ups and a balanced diet
Regular check-ups with your doctor will help you feel more in control and allow you manage a diet and exercise routine that can be constantly assessed. Truly listen to your body, rest when you are tired and be honest with yourself if you feel you’re overextending. In terms of a diet that may help, the best current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, may help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat with an emphasis on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.
3.) Avoid becoming overwhelmed
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind how important it is to be kind to yourself and not push too hard. It’s more than fine to have a seemingly unproductive day and simply rest, if you’ve increased your wellbeing it has certainly not been a wasted day.
4.) Try something new
Make sure you do things that you feel like doing, one of the best ways to live well is to follow your interests. Make a list of the things you like to do and leave it somewhere that’s visible to you each day to remind you to make at least one of these a daily focus. Introduce yourself to new activities regularly, it’s not only fun it may also help increase your brain activity.
5.) Laugh, and laugh often
Laughter releases feel-good hormones, endorphins, improves mental function, stimulation and decreases stress. It induces physical changes in your body and has been clinically proven to strengthen your immune system, activate and relieve your stress response and stimulate many organs. There’s mounting data about all the positive things laughter can do. Instilling a culture of humour may even improve the overall functioning and wellbeing. It’s contagious, and it’s free.
What’s more, laughter can help you to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Enhance the immune system
- Reduce tension
- Build trust
- Remove barriers between people
- Inspire a positive outlook
- Increase motivation while improving memory
Worried about dementia? When life feels too difficult, reach out for support
A keen focus on enhancing your wellbeing is going to help enable you to live to the full. You may experience unwanted feelings and emotions, be it triggered by your relationships with others or frustration of life adjustments. One of the most important things you can do is talk about your feelings with someone you trust such as your partner, relative or friend. Sometimes a different perspective can be really useful.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to feel so just allow yourself to experience a range of emotions. Learning to express yourself can help you cope with emotional responses while helping those around you react in the most appropriate ways.