Alzheimer’s disease is a major issue among older Americans. Scientists still can’t determine with certainty what causes its onset nor how to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease once it begins to take root in the brain. What we do know, however, is that there are a number of ways to prevent rapid deterioration once an Alzheimer’s diagnosis has been made.
How does Alzheimer’s disease affect the brain?
An alzheimer’s brain-scan reveals a dense network of tau proteins containing neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. These intruders degrade brain function by interfering in the typical neuron connectivity amongst brain cells, leading to the death of certain cells and a rupture in the connections between others. Alzheimer’s disease begins with the degradation of these connections in the brain tissue, inducing symptoms like dementia, memory loss, and cognitive decline. More acutely, older adults begin to lose the ability to perform the typical daily functions that been second-nature for decades. Conducting interventions to assist parents or grandparents with Alzheimer’s suffering this slowly ballooning loss of brain function, can be incredibly heart wrenching. But there are some things you can do to ease the pain while trying to reteach some basic behaviors.
The benefit educational entertainment provides for your loved one.
According to recent studies, tasks that involve learning have shown promise in slowing the degenerative properties of Alzheimer’s disease. Education based entertainment keeps the mind active at a time when it can be incredibly easy to simply relax and watch the world go by. As we age, our minds lose their sharpness through our conscious decisions to stop using the cognitive power that we are endowed with. It truly is a case of use it or lose it. If you are concerned for yourself or your loved one, try working in puzzles, documentaries, and new and challenging reading materials in order to keep the brain active, and to stem the development of these amyloid plaques and tangles.
The incorporation of these types of entertainment can be simple. For instance CuriosityStream’s Clint Stinchcomb has often discussed the ease of access that can now be found when searching for factual and education-based television programming. CuriosityStream offers an easy-to-use format that delivers thousands of streamed movies and docuseries, regarding a range of historical, biological and scientific topics, directly to your television. Educational television is a great way to engage the mind and get the cognitive abilities working, even for those who do not have Alzheimer’s.
Research suggests that talking is another great way to work the brain’s memory and cognitive functions. Watching television, and then discussing the theories or frameworks within the content, works wonders to get it thinking about all manners of scientific breakthroughs. All whilst engaging the reasoning abilities to make sense of the content that has just been digested.
What other activities engage the brain?
Puzzles also engage the cognition regions of your brain. For loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease that don’t like sitting in front of the television, bringing them puzzles, such as sudokus, crosswords, and brain teasers can help them stay engaged. These types of activities can be done anywhere, so a day out at the park to enjoy the fresh air while flexing the brain might be the perfect weekly activity, to keep your loved one mentally spry and happy.
The degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s can be incredibly scary for both those suffering with it, and their caregivers who must attend to their increasing needs. However, science has given us many breakthroughs in new treatments to help fight back against this cognitive impairment, and better ways to improve the quality of life of those who have this type of dementia. Keep your loved one active, and his or her brain in constant motion, in order to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or to keep early stages of Alzheimer symptoms from worsening. There is hope for those suffering from this disease, you just need to know where to find it.