Don’t miss: Our weekly wrap of key findings on how to prevent dementia

From solving crossword puzzles to fixing sleep issues, here’s the latest research on how you can avoid dementia.

Dementia affects the ability to perform everyday activities.
Dementia affects the ability to perform everyday activities.(Shutterstock)

About 47 million people worldwide have dementia. Unfortunately, current drugs can’t slow or reverse it, just ease symptoms. Treatment might need to start sooner to do any good, so it’s a good idea to find early signs and prevent dementia. Here are some ways you can do that.

1) Play crossword puzzles

Apart from being a great way to unwind, solving crosswords have another benefit. It may improve brain function and keep your brain ten years younger, say researchers. The more regularly people engaged with word puzzles, the better they performed on cognitive tasks assessing attention, reasoning and memory – decline of which may lead to the development of dementia.

2) Get your sleeping problems fixed.

If you suffer from sleep apnea (occurs when the upper airway closes partially or fully, causing pauses in breathing during sleep) or hypopnea (shallow breathing), it’s best to look into getting treatment. According to researchers, treating it might lower the risk of dementia, or at least slow its progression.


Interacting with dementia patients helps improve their quality of life. (Istock)

3) Help dementia patients

A simple way to help people suffering from dementia is to spend just one hour with them each week. Talk to them about their interests. It can help improve their quality of life and reduce agitation, say researchers at the University of Exeter, King’s College London and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

4) Guard yourself against dementia

There are many ways to avoid getting dementia. Keep learning new things while young, quit smoking and reduce mid-life hearing loss. Not completing secondary education while young can make people less resilient to cognitive decline when they get older, while preserving hearing helps people experience a richer and more stimulating environment, building cognitive reserve. Stopping smoking reduces exposure to neurotoxins and improves heart health which, in turn, affects brain health.

5) Monitor speech in old age


As you age, you tend to forget names and say “umm” a lot. But, be careful. Frequent pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, and you might be at risk of Alzheimer’s disease - the most common type of dementia.

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