Leading a brain healthy life can reduce the risks of dementia

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Currently 257,000 people in Australia have dementia and this number is projected to double by 2030.* But according to experts, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing it, and improve your general health and wellbeing in the process.

“Research shows people who lead a ‘brain-healthy’ lifestyle have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia,” says the Honourable John Watkins, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW.

“And with more than 1,400 new cases of dementia in Australia each week and numbers of people with the illness steadily increasing, it is important all Australians do what they can to reduce their risk of developing dementia.”

That’s why Alzheimer’s Australia has developed the Mind Your Mind program with a set of clear signposts to follow to keep your brain as healthy as possible. These include staying mentally, physically and socially active, eating healthily, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake, managing blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight, and protecting against head injury.

“This is not just a case of adding ‘do more crosswords’ to your list,” says Mr Watkins.

Staying active is 'brain healthy'

“Maybe you could learn that language you have always dreamed about, pick up a new musical instrument, or join a sporting club – there are many ways to mind your mind.”

 But according to Mr Watkins leading a brain-healthy lifestyle is not a guarantee against developing dementia.

“It is important to note that following the Mind Your Mind signposts does not guarantee you won’t develop dementia, but research shows they may help reduce your risk and may even delay the onset.”

“And the good news is they are also good for your overall health and wellbeing.”

For more information on how best to mind your mind including activity ideas, eating suggestions and tips for staying socially active, check-out Alzheimer’s Australia comprehensive booklet.

*Caring Places: Planning for Aged Care and Dementia 2010 – 2050, Access Economics (July 2010)