Kensington Senior Living is proud to be a sponsor and supporter of Brain It On!, a virtual brain health summit put on by the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) and Hilarity for Charity (HFC). Brain It On! features top brain experts and celebrities who share how to fight Alzheimer’s and various brain health tips.
This free virtual event is hosted by influential journalist Maria Shriver, head of WAM, and Lauren Miller Rogen, head of HFC and co-founder with her husband Seth Rogen.
If you or your loved one has Alzheimer’s and are looking for helpful brain health tips to cope and fight against dementia, then you won’t want to miss the information shared by the world’s leading Alzheimer’s experts.
Understanding the Three Phases of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
While Alzheimer’s and dementia are terms that are often used interchangeably, there are some distinct differences between the two.
For one, Alzheimer’s is a specific disease, while dementia is more of a general term that can encompass all sorts of illnesses that cause mental decline, including Alzheimer’s. For this reason, many people often confuse the two different terms.
When it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, there are commonly three well-defined stages a person undergoes as their condition develops.
Early-Stage (mild symptoms)
This is often the first stage when a person becomes diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Usually, memory loss has become more pronounced, such as forgetting where they placed important items, forgetting to pay the bills, asking repetitive questions, experiencing difficulty finding the right words to use, and even experiencing changes in their personality.
People living in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can still live mostly independent lives, but may need to begin depending on help from others to complete certain activities of daily living.
Middle-Stage (moderate symptoms)
Of the three stages of Alzheimer’s, the moderate stage is often the longest-lasting phase. At this point, people should no longer be driving themselves and will need much more assistance from their caregivers to complete their daily activities.
They will experience even greater memory loss, and may require additional help dressing themselves, using the restroom, taking their medication, and completing many of their other activities.
Conversation with people who are experiencing moderate symptoms will be more challenging, as they will become more easily confused and have greater difficulties communicating. Increased changes in personality will become more pronounced as well.
It’s at this stage when family caregivers typically try to find an assisted living or memory care community for their loved one, as they simply can’t keep up with providing the level of care their loved one requires.
Late-Stage (severe symptoms)
People living with severe Alzheimer’s will likely become entirely dependent on caregivers to complete their daily activities, including eating, bathing, moving around, and using the restroom.
During this phase, verbal communication will become increasingly difficult, and personality changes will be the most pronounced.
It’s common during this phase that a person with severe Alzheimer’s will typically begin to require hospice care.
Some doctors have concluded there could be five phases of Alzheimer’s, with the very first stage being preclinical Alzheimer’s, where the patient has no symptoms at all, yet are predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s.
The second phase may be Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) where the person experiences memory lapses that can be considered beyond what is normally acceptable for their age. It’s during this MCI stage when many family members become concerned that their loved one may develop Alzheimer’s.
Brain Health Tips to Implement Today to Prevent Alzheimer’s
The good news is that Alzheimer’s progression can be slowed down through lifestyle changes to prevent its development and maintain optimal brain health.
Just like any lifestyle change, maintaining brain health is a lifelong journey. Here are some brain health tips you can implement.
Brain Food Diet
Most doctors will recommend the Mediterranean Diet as one of the healthiest diets for maintaining optimal brain health.
The Mediterranean Diet is packed with healthy fats, vegetables, fiber, fish, and other important macronutrients.
This diet is a stark contrast to the standard American diet, which is high in saturated fats and sugar. A high fat and sugar diet is prone to causing obesity and diabetes, which can further reduce brain and heart health.
Getting Enough Sleep
Nothing seems to immediately impact a person’s mood and memory more than sleep deprivation.
Seniors should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal brain health, as it helps the brain reset itself and helps process the day’s information for better memory retention.
Researchers also claim that getting enough sleep can help the brain rid itself of excess beta-amyloids, the sticky protein that can clump together in the brain to cause Alzheimer’s.
Increased stress is bad for every system in the body, including brain health. Stress is also another factor in driving insomnia, which has negative effects on the brain.
To reduce stress, it’s important to get regular exercise. This not only improves cardiovascular health, but also improves mood, fighting against depression, and reducing blood pressure, which all, in turn, improve brain health.
Special Considerations for Women’s Brain Health
Estrogen, in the form of estradiol, plays a key factor in the brain health of women. It’s one of the main differences why women are significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than men.
After a woman undergoes menopause, her estradiol levels are significantly reduced, making her more susceptible to brain disease.
Recently, medical researchers have begun experimenting with hormone therapy in menopausal women to test its long-term effects to see if it’s a viable option in preventing Alzheimer’s.
The Kensington Reston: A Memory Care Community That Specializes in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
Our enhanced program sets us apart from other assisted living programs and allows us to administer more medical care for your loved one.
Our beautiful community is staffed by registered nurses who work around the clock, and also includes a physician’s office on-site, on-site rehabilitation services, life enrichment programs, dining services, and more.
If your loved one’s Alzheimer’s or dementia is progressing, or they’ve just been released from an extended stay at the hospital, rest assured knowing that our loving staff members can provide top-of-the-line care for your loved one.
At The Kensington Reston, we extend Our Promise to you — to love and care for your family as we do our own.
Please contact us today to learn more about our community’s certifications and amenities,as well as how your loved one can benefit from transitioning into our community setting.