Dementia is a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, sudden cognitive decline, and personality changes. Most of the time, these symptoms occur after the age of 65, but there are rare cases of early-onset dementia being diagnosed at much younger ages. Here is a look at five of the most common risk factors for early-onset dementia and a few tips that can help older adults preserve their cognitive health well into their senior years.
1. Family Medical History
Researchers now know of at least a few gene disorders that virtually guarantee an individual will develop early-onset dementia. There is currently no way to alter these genes, but an early diagnosis can open up quite a few treatment options that could minimize the symptoms. Starting at the age of 35, people who have a family history of dementia should be screened for early warning signs at least once a year.
People with early-stage dementia may need help performing daily tasks around the house. In Milwaukee, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Most forms of dementia are caused by clusters of protein in the brain called plaques. Traumatic brain injuries don’t create those plaques, but they can speed along the process and worsen the symptoms. Falls are currently the leading cause of TBIs, which is why it is important for all adults to exercise, stay at a healthy weight, and work on their balance. Those who have balance or strength issues must also use the proper safety equipment and mobility devices.
When aging adults develop early-onset dementia, their family members are not always able to provide the care they need and deserve. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
3. Environmental Toxins
Even though the EPA has strict regulations regarding environmental toxins, many families are exposed to dangerous chemicals for years without realizing it. One of the best ways to limit exposure to environmental toxins is to hire an experienced inspector to test the air inside your home. Airborne toxins such as radon and asbestos can destroy brain cells, damage soft tissue, and increase the risk of many types of cancer. Luckily, some of the most common toxins can easily be removed from the air with a high-quality filtration system.
4. Drug and Alcohol Use
For most people, having the occasional alcoholic beverage isn’t dangerous, but heavy drinkers can do quite a bit of damage to their brain cells and synapses. Many prescription and illicit drugs can also negatively impact the brain. A support team comprised of medical doctors and rehabilitation specialists can help people come up with a long-term plan for beating their addiction while avoiding relapses.
5. Cardiovascular Events
Strokes, arrhythmias, and heart attacks are all examples of acute cardiovascular events, and recent studies have shown that these events increase the risk of developing dementia. The most effective way to avoid these issues is to completely overhaul dietary habits. A person’s diet should consist of lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh produce. Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week is another simple way to boost heart health and keep blood pressure under control.
If your senior loved one needs in-home dementia care, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, caregivers are available around the clock to provide the high-quality care he or she needs. Using the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, dementia caregivers can help your loved one stay mentally engaged and delay the progression of the disease. Call Home Care Assistance at (414) 964-8000 to schedule a free in-home consultation.