Dementia Action Week – Reducing Risk and Supporting a Loved One

Dementia affects close to half a million Australians and that number is set double in the next 25 years.

There is no cure, and no sure way to prevent dementia, but did you know that you can help reduce your risk factors?

What are the signs of dementia?

When we think about health and wellness, our brain health might not be at the top of our list. Whether you are young or old, brain health is important at any age, particularly if affected by disease or brain injury and being aware of changes in memory and thinking.

What are risk factors?

The risk factors for dementia are different in everybody. Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such age, family history and genetics.

Scientific research suggests that changing particular health and lifestyle habits may make a difference to reducing or delaying your risk of developing dementia.

How do I reduce risk factors?

For those with underlying health issues such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, managing risk factors can be as easy as making lifestyle changes.

You can help reduce your risk of dementia by looking after your heart, body and mind health.

  • Book regular health checks for high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Lack of regular physical exercise can be improved by 20-30 minutes of daily exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Adopting health sleep practices
  • Exercise your brain by playing puzzles and games
  • Learn a new hobby or a new language
  • Participate in social activities and vary your daily activities

Where do I find support?

Many Australians are impacted by dementia but there is always hope for living well with dementia and getting support because we now have a greater understanding of the disease and how we can support those with dementia more effectively.

Carers of people living with dementia spend a lot of their time caring for loved ones and may have feelings of isolation or find it difficult to take a break.

Ways to support a carer are staying in touch through phone calls, messages or visits. You can also try helping out with some of the care tasks or organising relaxing activities like a sharing a cuppa or bringing over a magazine to read. Another way of helping is to learn about how to communicate more effectively with people who have dementia.

There are many other supports beyond family and friends, including the healthcare professionals and the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

Being a carer has its rewards but it is demanding and relentless as their loved one will continue to deteriorate. Carers don’t need to go it alone. Professional in-home care support for the family member who has developed dementia will allow a carer to continue to share the freedom of living independently but  can allow them to take a break or access in-home support from the routines of transport, meal preparation through to 24-hour care and support, especially during later stages of dementia.

At Senior Helpers, we have our professional and accredited Support Workers who take a unique approach to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care with our Senior Gems® program. This program is tailored and flexible for early, mid and late stages of dementia, allowing us to make both your life and your family’s life happier and less strained – by focusing on the things that those with dementia can do, whilst still respecting what they can no longer do.

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