November 28, 2023


Define Beauty Yourself

Ten lifestyle changes to reduce dementia risk –

A group gathered at the Reid Thompson Library on Wednesday evening to find out about the lifestyle choices and activities that can stand in the way of dementia. Connie Snider, First Link coordinator with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, was on hand to provide the information. Snider is no stranger to Humboldt, having presided over information sessions in the past. She will share the “ABCs of Dementia” with a group at the Elizabeth on Thursday as part of the Seniors’ Safety Symposium. 

Snider began with the differentiation between dementia and Alzheimer’s’ Disease, noting that dementia is a blanket term covering a wide variety of physiologically based cognitive disruptions. She also provided statistics on the growth and prevalence of dementia disorders in the province.  

“We believe this presentation is important because every day, ten or more people in Saskatchewan will develop some form of dementia, and this number is increasing every year,” Snider explained. “We’re expecting to see the number of people living with dementia in Saskatchewan to more than double in the next thirty years.” 

That’s why it’s so important for people to act in managing their health and, if necessary, change their lifestyle choices, Snider maintains. Not only do the suggestions potentially help to stave off the controllable factors contributing to dementia, but they also deliver a wide range of health benefits.  

Here at 10 actions individuals can take to mitigate risks associated with dementia. 

  • Exercise is one key. 150 minutes of exercise is all it takes to help with a variety of health issues. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it gets the heart rate bumped up and provides movement to help tone muscles and mind. 

  • Eating heart healthy goes a long way to contributing to heart and brain health. Snider talked about the importance of reducing consumption of refined or processed foods. A “Mediterranean” style diet high in fresh foods, grains, olive oils, and less red and processed meat is an option. 

  • Social engagement is a key. Snider noted that the pandemic led to noticeable mental health challenges for some due to the isolation. Finding groups of common interests and connecting with friends and family are solid options.  

  • Managing medical conditions has a lot to do with maintaining brain health. Conditions like type 2 diabetes and hypertension/high blood pressure will have an impact on mental health as well as physical health. Exercise and proper diet can provide solutions for these health issues and the extenuating brain health concerns. 

  • Keep learning throughout life. An active brain will tend to be healthier, so whether it’s a recreational activity, a new language, or a cooking class, any endeavour that engages and jumpstarts the brain is welcome.  

  • Maintain sleep patterns. A solid 6-8 hours of sleep at a regulated time will work to keep the sleep demand in check. Naps are good, says Snider, if they are not too long so as to disrupt regular sleep patterns. 

  • Managing stress and mental health is also important. Prolonged bouts of depression should be dealt with by visiting a doctor or mental health practitioner. It’s important to seek balance in life and even more important to establish a purpose or meaning to existence. Self-care is a must, not an indulgence, when it comes to mental wellbeing.  

  • Limit alcohol and tobacco use. Both have documented impacts on physiological and neurological systems. Both have an impact on heart health, sleep patterns, cognitive processing and other aspects that may have negative consequences. 

  • Protect and support your hearing. There is a strong connection between hearing and engaging auditory processing centres in the brain. Poor hearing can lead to a lack of interpersonal connection, which is critical to maintaining good brain health.  

  • Protect yourself from head injury. Strong links between repeated concussions or mild head trauma has been linked to ongoing brain injury and cognitive deficits. Helmets are the first line of protection when hooking into physical activity that might have risks. Following a mild head injury, get the rest it takes to heal, and follow up with medical staff if necessary. 

The Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan has more information and evidence-based resources to help with those who are concerned about dementia. Connect with them at  

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