Alzheimer's disease is one of the most serious threats to healthy senior living, and results of a new poll have experts concerned. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that an estimated one in eight adults aged 60 and older reported increased feelings of memory loss over the last 12 months.
The study focused on responses of more than 59,000 people, and shed some light on the problems that memory loss can cause in day-to-day life. One-third of the respondents who have memory problems reported experiencing interference with their work, social life or ability to do household chores. Furthermore, only 35 percent of those who had memory issues had discussed them with their healthcare provider.
"These findings suggest a need for future studies to examine the relationship of age and functional difficulties caused by increased confusion or memory loss," Angela Deokar, a public health adviser at the CDC, wrote in a press release.
Such findings echo other studies that have warned of the growing prevalence of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Most notably, research from the World Health Organization in 2012 estimated that the number of dementia cases worldwide could triple by 2050. While this picture may seem bleak, it doesn't mean that older adults are powerless against memory problems. There are many lifestyle choices they can make to stay as mentally sharp as possible as they get older.
Although there remains no proven way to prevent Alzheimer's, several methods have shown promise, according to the Mayo Clinic. A heart-healthy lifestyle - meaning regular exercise and a low-fat diet - is a good place to start, but social engagement and intellectual stimulation have also proven to be particularly effective in slowing cognitive decline.
Although there has been much debate over the role of nutrition in cognitive decline and numerous studies that tested the efficacy of pharmaceuticals to protect the brain, a recent review of all published research came up empty. It found no evidence that medications, herbal supplements or vitamins help protect the brains of healthy older adults from cognitive decline.
Summer is upon us, children are out of school and there’s an increasing amount of daylight available as we approach the summer solstice. Now is the perfect time to consider volunteering and making it an activity for your family to do together. Many of us lead busy lives, and thinking about volunteering as yet another thing to do can seem overwhelming. However, consider the benefits not only for those you help, but for you as well. Volunteering can provide you with the opportunity to get involved in a cause that you’re passionate about, it can provide your senior loved one with an outlet to stay active and sharp and it can provide a child or a young person with a positive example to follow so that they might appreciate what others are experiencing. You can make a difference in the lives of many by a small act of kindness.
Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to have substantial health benefits for seniors. In fact, some studies suggest that a compound found in red wine - resveratrol - could be good for cardiovascular well-being. Unfortunately, certain seniors don't drink in moderation, with a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealing that adults 65 and older binge drink more frequently than any other demographic. In addition to many of the physical drawbacks of excessive alcohol consumption, drinking can take its toll on mental health, including through alcohol-induced dementia.
An estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and though many of them are 65 and older, that's not always the case. Various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's, can strike adults in their 50s and even their 40s. In fact, approximately four percent of those living with Alzheimer's disease have what's considered the "younger-onset" form of the disease, the Alzheimer's Association reports.