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The Benefits of Learning a New Language as a Preventive Measure for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Care in Indianapolis, IN – Exercising the Brain is Important for Reducing the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s

Woman reading a book to a senior citizen man in nursing homeMillions of Americans live with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms for Alzheimer’s disease. A type of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that slowly gets worse over time and interferes with memory, overall daily activities and functioning, as well as behavior. While this disease typically affects people over the age of 65, about 5% of diagnosed cases are early onset Alzheimer’s, beginning when someone is in their 40s or 50s. This disease is not just a normal part of aging and scientists are still studying and researching causes and any possible cures.

However, there are some things people can do to try and lower their risks for developing this cognitive impairment. Many medical experts highly recommend keeping the brain sharp by exercising it. People can exercise their brain by learning new things such as a different hobby, doing crossword puzzles or learning a second language. Many studies have found that taking the time to learn a new language, even if it is just conversational, really reduces a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s or in some cases, delays the symptoms.

“…researchers found that on average, patients who spoke more than one language began to develop symptoms 4.5 years later than those who spoke only one language.

…bilingual patients developed dementia later even if they couldn’t read or write. Studying a foreign language is like a thorough workout for the brain. Learning vocabulary exercises [for] your memory and figuring out what expressions to use in different contexts tests your reasoning and decision making skills. And once you’re speaking the language, having to switch between it and your native language improves what’s known as your brain’s…ability to plan and prioritize.” (Source)

Besides challenging your brain with another language, some other ways to lower a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s include:

  • Nutrition – Eating a heart-healthy diet that is filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Sleep – Getting enough rest at night is important.
  • Limiting stress – Some stress is inevitable but try to keep levels low.
  • Exercise – Regular cardiovascular exercise is good for your body and brain.

Genetics has also been linked as a possible factor affecting whether a person develops Alzheimer’s disease or not. While there isn’t much anyone can do about their genetics, it’s still beneficial to put in as many preventive measures as early on as possible. It has even been shown that once the symptoms of Alzheimer’s has begun, regular aerobic exercise can still improve the quality of life. It’s never too late to start. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s beneficial whenever you start.

When your aging loved one with Alzheimer’s disease needs more assistance than you’re able to give, it’s time to hire Alzheimer’s home care. A trained and loving caregiver knows how to give the perfect kind of care to an elderly loved one with declining memory.

The caregivers at Great Care are available to talk with you and your family about all of your home care needs. Great Care is an elder care agency providing quality and affordable senior care in Indianapolis, IN and the surrounding areas. Call (888) 240-9101 for more information.

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Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

Editor in Chief at Approved Senior Network
Valerie is a Registered Nurse and long-term care expert. She has published 4 books on caring for aging adults and is the Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com and ApprovedSeniorNetwork.com