You may already be doing crosswords and sudoku to help keep your brain sharp, but what about the other pieces of the early intervention puzzle? A holistic approach puts all the pieces together to treat your entire being – body, mind and soul – to improve brain function while potentially slowing the progression of memory loss.
Holistic treatments and therapies are effective intervention strategies for people with early stages of memory loss and those who have begun to experience declining judgment, language, memory, and thinking skills. And more good news: these treatments are easy to integrate into everyday routines.
“One great thing about holistic treatments is that they often come in the forms of fun, engaging activities and mood-boosters that improve quality of life, so these are exercises people will actually want to do regularly,” says Paige Deaver, Community Relations Director at YourLife™ of Tallahassee, a Memory Care community in Tallahassee, Florida.
In this post, we’ll discuss some basic elements of a holistic, nonpharmacological approach to early intervention that can keep your brain sharper longer. If you have a loved one with early memory loss, you can help them implement these strategies as well.
HOLISTIC INTERVENTION ELEMENTS & TREATMENTS
Two significant benefits of a holistic approach are decreased use of medication that can cause unwanted side effects or drug interactions and whole-body health. Treating all parts of the body and spirit instead of targeting just the brain produces results that are far greater than the sum of their parts.
Even before symptoms of dementia appear, we can proactively aim to delay their arrival by addressing all factors that affect brain function, or what the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention FoundationTM (ARPF) calls the 4 Pillars of Prevention: Diet, Stress Management, Exercise & Brain Aerobics, and Spiritual Fitness.
Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs proper nutrition.
- Supercharge your brain health with a balanced diet that will support you as you age. Blueberries, avocadoes, fish, peanuts, and dark chocolate all make the list.
- Go Mediterranean. When people in Mediterranean regions showed less incidence of heart disease – and longer lifespans – scientists took note and found strong correlations between the antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet and heart health. Since what is often good for the heart is good for the brain, memory impairment researchers also took a look at the Mediterranean diet and liked what they saw.
Stress is notorious for causing ulcers, high blood pressure, and as we’re learning, perhaps surprising detrimental effects on our brains and memories. Give your body and brain regular opportunities to relax and rejuvenate by taking walks, focusing on your breathing, and adding some of these stress relievers to your daily or weekly routines.
- Music Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Sensory Therapies
- Tai Chi, Yoga and Qigong
- Mindful Meditation
- Massages or Reiki for stress, anxiety and pain relief
According to ARPF, 150 minutes of physical exercise per week can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50%. But don’t despair if you can’t touch your toes or you’re not a gym person.
Instead, find appropriate exercises that you can and want to do. Work in the garden, go for a swim, shoot hoops with your grandkids, or sign up for a dance class to stimulate your mind while improving flexibility and strengthening your core and cardio system. Find more ideas here: A Body in Motion: How to Get Moving for Better Brain Health
Targeted brain exercises like writing with your non-dominant hand or learning a new skill are fun challenges that can help make your brain stronger, more flexible, and adaptable to change – all very important benefits as we age. Check out 9 Great Brain Games and Brain Training Websites and give your brain a boost anytime, anywhere.
Quality of life, reducing depression, and increasing self-awareness and emotional fulfillment is vital to brain health. According to ARPF, developing your Spiritual Fitness, or psycho-spiritual well-being, may help reduce your risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and even Alzheimer’s.
Try these techniques to center your soul, bring you joy, and help slow the progression of cognitive decline.
- Socialize with people who support and respect you – and with whom you enjoy spending time.
- Practice mindfulness, allowing yourself to live in, appreciate and recall the moment.
- Keep things in perspective, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Volunteer at an organization dear to your heart – or one that’s just plain fun!
- Explore paths of spirituality, regardless of origin or religion. You may be surprised by what you learn and how it makes you feel.
- Reconnect with people, past achievements, fond memories and happy occasions. A lost sense of self can follow a dementia diagnosis. Reminiscence therapy can help people in various stages of memory loss reclaim their identity to varying degrees.
Remember: A successful holistic approach has many moving parts that work together to keep your brain healthy. Reevaluate your needs, interests and quality of life regularly. If something is missing or no longer working, find new pieces for your puzzle.
To learn how our customized holistic approaches to memory care help residents live full, rewarding lives, call YourLifeTM of Tallahassee’s life enrichment team at 850-250-5671.
Inspired ● Engaged ● Fulfilled
If someone you love is living with memory loss, you want the very best for them. You’ll find it at YourLife™ of Tallahassee. Because Memory Care is all that we do, we have the unique ability to focus all our energy, attention and resources into creating an environment that caters to each resident’s needs, preferences and abilities while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families.
We see each resident as an individual because we understand that each resident has their own story. Using this idea, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence while creating beautiful days. No matter how much care they need, our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists can provide assistance with all activities of daily living while providing reminders, guidance, support and cues. Even better, residents and their families experience true peace of mind knowing that expert care is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Our personal touch doesn’t stop at our care. In fact, it’s only just the beginning. We create days that leave residents feeling Inspired. Engaged. Fulfilled through our signature programming, YourStory. With individual experiences centered around each resident, engaging outings, services and amenities, activities, dining and more, we create opportunities to learn and pursue new endeavors. At YourLife™ of Tallahassee, everything was designed for you, but it is defined by you, creating a lifestyle that makes every day a joy. Contact us to learn more!
Call us at 850-250-5671 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.