Living a Brain Healthy Lifestyle


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How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle by Natalie McFarland, RN, BSN and Dementia Care Educator at Sycamore Village Assisted Living.

• 5 Domains of a Brain Healthy Life.
• Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's.
• 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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  • Sycamore Village is an assisted living home specializing in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care. We have earned a 100% deficiency free state survey for the past five consecutive years. We were recognized by the AFA as 1 in 18 homes in the nation for Excellence in Care, a Dementia Program of Distinction. And we are at the forefront of culture change, working closely with the Pioneer Coalition and the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Dementia is a broad, descriptive term like “soup”.
  • Auguste had developed problems with memory, had unfounded suspicions that her husband was unfaithful, and difficulty speaking and understanding what was said to her. Her symptoms grew worse fast and within a few years, she was bedridden. She died in 1906.Dr. Alzheimer did an autopsy on her brain and saw shrinkage, and abnormal deposits in and around her brain cells which we know today as plaques and tangles.
  • 1. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with AD today. The disease progresses over time and is fatal. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. 2. Plaques are caused deposits of protein called beta-amyloid. Tangles form inside dying cells, beginning in areas important in learning and memory and then spreading to other regions. 3. AD accounts for 50 – 80 % of dementia cases. 4. But treatment for the symptoms combined with the right services and support can make life better for those living with the disease.
  • Ex) Forgetting recently learned information. Forgetting important dates or events. Asking for the same info over and over. What’s typical? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later. 2. Ex) Trouble following a familiar recipe. Keeping track of bills. Difficulty concentrating and taking longer to do things. What’s typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook. 3. Ex) Trouble driving to a familiar location. Remembering the rules of a favorite game. What’s typical? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a tv show. 4. Ex) Losing track of seasons, dates, and the passage of time. What’s typical? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later. 5. Ex) For some people having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. Difficulty reading, judging distance, and identifying objects. Passing a mirror and thinking someone else is in the room. What’s typical? Vision changes related to normal aging or cataracts.
  • 6. Ex) Trouble following or joining a conversation. Trouble finding the right words to use or calling things by the wrong name - calling a watch a hand-clock. What’s typical? SOMETIMES having trouble finding the right word. 7. Ex) Putting things in unusual places. Accusing others of stealing things. What’s typical? Misplacing things such as glasses or the remote. 8. Ex) Poor judgement with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. Not wearing a coat when it is snowing. What’s typical? Sometimes making a bad decision. 9. Ex) Removing themselves from hobbies and social activities. What’s typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations. 10. Ex) Mood or personality changes. What’s typical? Becoming irritated when a routine is disrupted.
  • Yes! There are over 80 conditions that cause dementia, and many of them are reversible. Ex) drug interactions, thyroid disease, tumors, dehydration, infections, and depression can all cause reversible dementias.
  • Dr. Nussbaum is a renown clinical neuropsychologist based in Pittsburgh who travels the United States lecturing on his theory – The Five Domains of the Brain Health Lifestyle.
  • What’s good for your heart is good for your brain. HDL (good) cholesterol may help protect brain cells so stick to a diet with healthy fats (mono- and poly- unsaturated) such as olive or vegetable oils or nuts, instead of trans-fats or partially hydrogenated oils.Eat 80% of what you intend to eat at each meal and use utensils so that you eat less.
  • Top Ten Brain Foods1. Any leafy green vegetable, like green leaf lettuce, kale, or broccoli are great for your brain and high in iron and nutrients.2. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants stop chain reactions caused by free radicals formed by oxidation that can cause cancer and other diseases. Fruits: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries. 3. Vegetables: Kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell peppers, onions, corn and eggplant. 4. Omega – 3 is an essential fatty acid that is needed for brain development. Fish highest in omega-e is wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, anchovies, whitefish and sablefish. Nuts are also a great source of omega-3.5. Stay away from chocolates high in sugar – try cocoa powder or chocolate with at least 75% cocao.6. Matcha – is a high quality Japanese green tea that contains a huge amount of EGCG (Epigallocatechingallate), a potent antioxidant. 7. Acai (ah-sigh-ee’ or ah-ka’i-ee) berries – high antioxidant, contain omega -3 fatty acids, and lots of protein.8. Coffee beans – Coffee is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and is great for your brain. It is thought to increase your mental response time. Don’t add lots of sugar and cream. It is generally agreed that up to 200 - 300 mg of caffeine per day is safe – this is equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee per day. 9. Soy products are high in protein and great for brain health.10. Whole wheat or whole grains should be listed as the number 1 or 2 ingredient, not whole wheat flour – this is often refined and molasses is added to create the brown color.
  • Socialization is healthy for the brain because it keeps the brain stimulated and connected thereby reducing the risk of the brain isolating, becoming too inactive, and lonely. Socialization can also decrease depression which can also hinder memory. Social activities come in all forms!
  • Spirituality is healthy for the brain becauseturning inward and settling down helps to reduce stress which can be detrimental to brain structure and function.
  • Mental Stimulation helps to stimulate the cortex of the human brain by exposure to information that is complex. Research has also shown that keeping the brain active may help to build new neural connections and cells in your brain, protecting you from mental, cognitive decline. Mental activity may help build “Brain Reserve” – development of cellular connections that may help defend against degenerative brain diseases such as AD.
  • Physical Activity is healthy for the brain because every time the heart beats 25% of the blood from each heartbeat goes directly to the brain, so exercising helps to maintain good blood flow to the brain and can reduce certain risk factors for AD. Exercise should be done regularly for around 30 min/day, 5 days/week. Find things you enjoy doing and think of ways you can incorporate exercise into your normal daily routine.
  • Healthy snacks can improve cognition. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, Brazilnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans, and sesame seeds are all high in omega 3.
  • Walnuts have been found to improve mood and help decrease brain cell death.
  • Up to 2 glasses/week for women and 3 glasses/week for men delivers the powerful antioxidant Resveratrol, which may prevent free radicals from damaging brain cells. Drinking more than that could decrease thiamine absorption which is needed to keep the brain healthy. Drink it slowly to absorb the Resveratrol. One study has shown that Cabernet Sauvignon most helps reduce the risk of AD.
  • Eat pears, apples, oranges, and cantaloupe. The combination prevents elevated blood sugar that could impede brain cells from firing correctly. It also provides fiber and antioxidants that help scrub plaque from brain arteries and mop up free radicals that inhibit clear thinking.
  • Smelling cinnamon can boost brain functions, performance and memory.- As little as just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.Has a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes and can improve neurotransmission.Has an anti-clotting effect on the blood (natural blood-thinner).a recent research study presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Services in Sarasota, FL, found that merely smelling cinnamon or chewing cinnamon-flavored gum actually enhanced multiple areas of brain processing and function; everything from memory to visual-motor speed to recognition to attention & focus
  • Research shows that people who fast one day a week or month unlock a unique form of blood glucose that helps the brain more efficiently transmit information.
  • Join a book club – reading can reduce your risk of dementia and meeting new people can force new neural connections.
  • Learning a new language boosts the verbal, language, and memory parts of the brain. Learning a new instrument is also great for exercising coordination and memory parts of the brain.
  • Board games are associated with a lower risk of developing dementia. They activate strategic, spatial, and memory parts of the brain, and require you to socialize, which can help form new neural pathways.
  • Instead of popping in another movie rental, pick up the phone. Talking with someone else not only gets you out of your rut (lack of activity can decrease brain-cell formation) but the socializing can also reduce potentially memory-zapping depression.
  • Note changes in the person’s tone and pay attention to small facts that you might otherwise gloss over. Conjure a mental image of the story. By doing this, you will activate multiple areas in the brain and encourage new memory formations.
  • Sit quietly, choose a word that calms you, and when your mind starts to wander, say the word silently or picture it – this type of meditation can reduce stress hormone cortisol which zaps memory. Find ways that relax you – Take a few minutes to cool down – stress of chronic anger can shrink memory centers in the brain.
  • Chronic stress releases the stress hormone cortisol which can shrink your brain’s memory center. Interacting with others activates many parts of the brain and learning new ways of coping forms new neural connections.
  • Most of sleep’s benefits for concentration and memory happens in the first stage of sleep, so even a short 30 minute nap can benefit your brain
  • Treat yourself to relaxing scents like vanilla before bed. They raise the chemical dopamine and reduce cortisol, a stress hormone.
  • Research shows that taking courses can help prevent dementia. Check out books, seminars, and other educational events.
  • Walking down the street, don’t just look forward. Look right and left and all around – this stimulates the neural and spatial centers of the brain which can shrink as you age. Also using your peripheral vision regularly stimulates the neural and spatial centers of the brain, which can atrophy with age.
  • Play Sudoku but move on – brain teasers do not form new neural connections once you’ve mastered them. Try something that is opposite of your natural skills. Ex) if you like numbers, learn to draw.
  • New video games such as the Wii or Nintendo DS offer brain teasers that mat make you learn the computer’s interface as you master the brain games. So, this not only creates new neural pathways and but also can improve response time and memory.
  • TV may provide a lot of stimuli, but watching too much can dull brain transmission. Instead, spend an afternoon listening to your favorite music. Music can lower stress hormones that inhibit memory and increase feelings of well-being that improve focus.
  • It may be uncomfortable, but writing with your non-dominant hand or operating a computer mouse with that hand can activate parts of the brain that aren’t easily triggered otherwise. Anything that requires the brain to pay close attention to a formerly automatic behavior will stimulate brain cell growth.
  • Try to walk between 7,000 – 12,000 steps per day. A little over 2,000 steps is equal to a mile and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles.
  • Even one serious concussion could increase your risk of developing dementia.
  • Adding a little strength training to your daily walks can help protect brain cells from damage done by free radicals – and encourage new brain cell growth. So strap some weights on your ankles or wrists as you walk, or practice gentle yoga.
  • Gentle bouncing of your knees and shaking out of your limbs reduces the brain sapping stress hormone cortisol, research shows. It also triggers relaxation and alertness that keeps your brain sharp. Do it for a few minutes in the morning and at night.
  • Always challenge your brain. Do things that you are not good at and learn new skills. Learn more new skills once you master the old. These will activate areas in your brain that aren’t otherwise as activated and help create new neural pathways. Exercise your brain like you exercise for your heart.
  • Living a Brain Healthy Lifestyle

    1. 1. Living a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />
    2. 2. Natalie McFarland, RN, BSNDementia Care Educator<br />Natalie has supervised the Alzheimer’s and Dementia related programming at Sycamore Village since 2004. She is a registered nurse and Sycamore’s on-site dementia care expert. <br />Natalie is “train-the-trainer” certified through the Alzheimer’s Association and The Best Friend’s Approach, providing continuous Alzheimer’s education to staff and families.<br />Natalie has presented at both the Illinois and Missouri Pioneer Coalition State Conferences, local Chamber of Commerce, hospitals, several healthcare facilities, and to the local community.<br />Natalie is featured quarterly on the Norm Greenberg Show through the local Charter Cable Network discussing a variety of dementia-related topics.<br />
    3. 3.
    4. 4. Overview of Dementia<br /><ul><li>a broad term for any brain disorder that causes confusion, memory loss, personality changes, and mental decline</li></li></ul><li>Overview of Dementia<br />Alzheimer’s Disease is a brain disorder named for German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906.<br />He presented the case of “Auguste”, a 51 year old woman.<br />
    5. 5. Overview of Dementia<br />Is a progressive and fatal brain disease<br />Causes plaques and tangles in the brain that destroys brain cells<br />Is the most common form of dementia <br />Has no cure<br />
    6. 6. 10 Warning Signs<br />1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life.<br />2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.<br />3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or leisure.<br />4. Confusion with time or place.<br />5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.<br />
    7. 7. 10 Warning Signs<br />6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.<br />7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.<br />8. Decreased or poor judgment.<br />9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.<br />10. Changes in mood and personality.<br />
    8. 8. Early Detection<br />Should I go to the doctor?<br />
    9. 9. Keys to a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br /> Dr. Paul Nussbaum, PhD<br />Five Domains of the Brain Health Lifestyle<br />
    10. 10. Nutrition<br />Eat healthy<br />Eat less<br />Use utensils<br />
    11. 11. Top 10 Brain Health Foods<br />Leafy green vegetables<br />Fruits with antioxidants<br />Vegetables with antioxidants<br />Omega 3 fatty acid fish<br />Cacao Beans<br />Matcha<br />Acai berries<br />Coffee beans<br />Soy products<br />Whole Wheat<br />
    12. 12. Socialization<br />Do not isolate<br />Build your networks<br />Develop hobbies<br />
    13. 13. Spirituality<br />Pray<br />Meditate<br />Relax<br />Slow down<br />
    14. 14. Mental Stimulation<br />Learn new things<br />Challenge yourself<br />Explore<br />
    15. 15. Physical Activity<br />Exercise<br />Garden<br />Dance<br />On Flickr by StevenM_61<br />
    16. 16. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br /> Snack on nuts and berries instead of a candy bar.<br />
    17. 17. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Love the crunch of croutons on your salad?<br />
    18. 18. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br /> Sip red wine.<br />
    19. 19. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Replace candy with fruit.<br />
    20. 20. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Add cinnamon for a brainy breakfast.<br />
    21. 21. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Take a break from food.<br />
    22. 22. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Join a group.<br />
    23. 23. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Learn a new language.<br />
    24. 24. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Play board games<br />
    25. 25. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Have a chat.<br />
    26. 26. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Listen to the details.<br />
    27. 27. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Meditate and relax.<br />
    28. 28. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Get support for stressors. <br />
    29. 29. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br /><br />Take an afternoon catnap.<br />
    30. 30. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Have some scents.<br />
    31. 31. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Get some class.<br />
    32. 32. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />When you look forward, also look around.<br />
    33. 33. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Leave your comfort zone.<br />
    34. 34. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Grab a video game joystick.<br />
    35. 35. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Turn up the tunes.<br />
    36. 36. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Switch hands.<br />
    37. 37. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Go for a walk.<br />
    38. 38. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br /><br />Wear a helmet.<br />
    39. 39. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Bear some weight.<br />
    40. 40. How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle<br />Shake your body.<br />
    41. 41. Challenge Yourself at Every Opportunity<br />
    42. 42. References<br /><br /><br /> <br /><br /><br />
    43. 43. Contact Us<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Phone: 618-222-2571<br />Email: <br />
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