The 12 Best Brain Health Recommendations To Reduce Risk for Dementia
Mar 16, 2021
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
Researchers have been investigating brain health recommendations that help to reduce our risk for cognitive decline in older adulthood. Many of the tips that I'm going to share today are really about how to live your healthiest life and achieve optimal physical health, brain health, and mental health in older adulthood.
You may already be doing many of these tips. As you listen to this episode, take notes and make a list. Put a check mark by items that you are currently doing and a star next to the items that you need to be doing more of to achieve optimal health. At the end of the episode, give yourself some praise for what you're already doing, then choose one of the starred items to focus on to optimize your brain health and mental health.
Let's dive in to the 12 evidence-based brain health recommendations to reduce your risk for cognitive decline and dementia and promote mental well being:
Here's a peak into the episode
- [02:55] Brain Health Recommendation #1: Engage in your social life by spending time with friends and in your community
- [07:29] Brain Health Recommendation #2: Avoid excessive alcohol & other harmful substances
- [09:49] Brain Health Recommendation #3: Eat a nutritious diet
- [13:54] Brain Health Recommendation #4: Maintain heart health (cardiovascular health)
- [16:01] Brain Health Recommendation #5: Engage in physical activity
- [19:36] Brain Health Recommendation #6: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night (consistently)
- [23:33] Brain Health Recommendation #7: Find a sense of meaning and purpose in life
- [25:11] Brain Health Recommendation #8: Think positively about aging
- [30:22] Brain Health Recommendation #9: Engage in enjoyable activities
- [30:55] Brain Health Recommendation #10: Be mindful of medications contraindicated for older adults
- [32:32] Brain Health Recommendation #11: Avoid smoking and other environmental toxins
- [33:52] Brain Health Recommendation #12: Get treatment for mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression
- [36:33] I have a some exciting news to share. Listen to find out what it is.
Read the transcript here
Resources & References
- Want to quit smoking? Check out the American Lung Associations Quit smoking programs
- Physical Activity and Brain Health - Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH)
- Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health
- The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health
- The Brain–Sleep Connection: GCBH Recommendations on Sleep and Brain Health
Brain Health and Mental Well-Being: GCBH Recommendations on Feeling Good and Functioning Well
Engage Your Brain: GCBH Recommendations on Cognitively Stimulating Activities
The Beers List 2015
- "The XX Brain" by Lisa Mosconi, PhD
Learn more about the toll of ageism on physical and mental health
Levy BR, Slade MD, Pietrzak RH, Ferrucci L. Positive age beliefs protect against dementia even among elders with high-risk gene. PLoS One. 2018 Feb 7;13(2):e0191004. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191004. PMID: 29414991; PMCID: PMC5802444.
- Levy BR, Zonderman A, Slade MD, Ferrucci L. (2009) Negative age stereotypes held earlier in life predict cardiovascular events in later life. Psychological Science, 20:296–298
Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Chang, E. S., Kannoth, S., & Wang, S. Y. (2020). Ageism amplifies cost and prevalence of health conditions. The Gerontologist, 60(1), 174-181.https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny131
Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Kunkel, S. R., & Kasl, S. V. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of personality and social psychology, 83(2), 261–270. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-35126.96.36.1991
Levy, B. R., Ferrucci, L., Zonderman, A. B., Slade, M. D., Troncoso, J., & Resnick, S. M. (2016). A culture–brain link: Negative age stereotypes predict Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. Psychology & Aging, 31(1), 82-88. https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000062
Learn more about memory loss
If you’re concerned about someone you love possibly having a significant memory loss or a dementia disorder, please download my free memory loss guide. It answers some of the most frequently asked questions I get about memory loss.
Where to Find Mental Health Professionals for Older Adults & Caregivers
If you have insurance, call or go online to see if your insurance covers “Behavioral Health” or “Mental Health”, then look for providers in your network. You can google them to read about them and see if they’re a good fit for you.
- Psychology Today- In this resource portal, you can search for Psychologists and Psychiatrists who specialize in older adults, simply select your age category (Elders 65+)
- Looking for an African American/Black Therapist? Try Therapy for Black Girls
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA’s) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
- Major Medical Centers and Universities - If your older loved one lives near a major medical center or medical university, go online (or google them) to see if they offer mental health care for older adults. Here are some common terms to help you in your search: geriatric mental health, behavioral health for older adults, a geriatric psychiatry program, etc.
Join the movement to promote mental health and brain health in older adults
My mission is to improve access to mental health care for older adults, and to create a space that is inclusive of all older adults. You can help by:
- Sharing episodes with friends, family, and colleagues
- Subscribing to the podcast. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!
- Leaving a review on iTunes. Your review will help other people find this podcast. Just click here to review, then scroll down, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know why de-stigmatizing mental health care for older adults is important to you. Thank you!
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I'm Dr. Regina Koepp
I'm a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and Gerontologist specializing with older adults and families! As founder and CEO of Gero Champions, LLC and the Psychology of Aging Podcast, my mission is to help mental health and senior care providers meet the mental health and sexual health needs of older adults using up to date, evidence-based, and culturally thoughtful care.
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