Staying physically active is an important part of reducing your risk.

Here’s what you need to know about dementia, and ways to reduce your risk

Research indicates there are things we can do to reduce the risk of developing dementia

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International’s survey on attitudes toward dementia – which surveyed almost 70,000 people in 155 countries, including Canada – almost 80 per cent of people are concerned about developing dementia, while one in four people think there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.

Closer to home, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. wants people to learn more about dementia – and if you are affected by it, the Society wants you to know you’re not alone.

What is dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease but is a set of progressive symptoms – including memory loss and difficulties with thinking – that may be caused by a number of different brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and others. Learn more about dementia more in this series of short videos.

Can dementia be prevented?

Dementia is a progressive, terminal disease – for which there’s currently no cure. However, research indicates that there are things we can do to reduce our risk. It’s never too soon or too late to learn about brain health and make lifestyle changes!

  • Be physically active. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, all associated with an increased risk of dementia.
  • Challenge yourself. Keeping your brain active can help reduce your risk of dementia.
  • Be socially active. Staying connected socially helps you stay connected mentally. Social activity also helps people living with dementia to continue to engage and feel fulfilled.
  • Eat well. Healthy dietary choices not only improve your general health; in the long-term, nutritious food helps maintain brain function and slows memory decline.
  • Reduce stress. Experiencing some stress is part of everyday life, but when it persists over time, it can cause vascular changes and chemical imbalances that are damaging to the brain.
  • Protect your head. Past head traumas appear to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Volunteer. You may want to give back to your community, aspire to develop a new skill or expand your social network. Volunteering has health benefits, too: engaging your mind and body can help you age well and reduce the risk of dementia.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. can help

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is committed to ensuring that people affected by dementia have the confidence and skills to live the best life possible. First Link® dementia support is the Alzheimer Society

of B.C.’s suite of programs and services, available throughout the progression of the disease, from diagnosis (or before) to end-of-life care.

People who are connected to First Link® dementia support can access:

  • Individual support: Ongoing support calls to help understand dementia, identify changing needs and plan for the future.
  • Dementia education: In-person and online education on a variety of topics throughout the progression of the disease.
  • Support groups: Information and discussion groups for people in the early stages of dementia and for caregivers.
  • Minds in Motion®: A social and fitness program for people in the early stages of dementia to attend with a care partner.
  • Information: Access to brochures, fact sheets, videos and newsletters.

Connect to First Link® by asking your health-care provider for a referral or by calling the First Link® Dementia Helpline, available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: 1-800-936-6033 (English), 1-833-674-5007 (Cantonese & Mandarin) or 1-833-674-5003 (Punjabi).

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Support groups are an opportunity to share your experiences with others and help each other face the challenges presented by dementia.

Dementia affects not only the person living with the diagnosis, but their family, friends and care partners.

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