OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is this June, and the good folks with the Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter want Oklahomans to prioritize brain health.
Over 67,000 Oklahomans are living with Alzheimer’s and more than 129,000 family and friends serve as their caregivers, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“The past year has been extremely challenging for most Americans,” said Sandi Pellow, Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter Executive Director. “Chronic stress, like that experienced during the pandemic, can impact memory, mood and anxiety. As Oklahoma residents begin to return to normal, we encourage them to make brain health a priority.”
The Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter has the following five suggestions to promote brain health and help Oklahoma residents restore their mental well-being:
- Recommit to Brain-Healthy Basics. Evidence suggests that healthy behaviors took a back seat for many Americans during the pandemic. The Alzheimer’s Association — through the U.S. POINTER study — is examining the role lifestyle interventions, including diet and exercise, may play in protecting cognitive function. Many experts agree that people can improve their brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
- Return to Normal at Your Own Pace. Many Americans are eager for a return to normal life following the pandemic, but others are anxious. The Association suggests taking small steps. It may also be important to set boundaries and communicate your preferences to others in your social circles.
- Help Others. Helping others may not only make you feel better, but it may be good for you as well. Research shows that helping others in a crisis can be an effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety.
- Unplug and Disconnect. Technology has dominated our daily lives like never before. While technology has kept us connected through COVID-19, it has also created fatigue. Experts advise setting limits on your screen time, avoid carrying your phone everywhere, and disconnecting from digital devices at bedtime.
- Control Your Stress Before it Controls You. Prolonged or repeated stress can wear down the brain, leading to serious health problems including memory loss and increased risk for dementia. Reports indicate that Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are especially vulnerable to physical and emotional stress. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers tips to help manage caregiver stress.
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