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Biking Around With Dementia

I was intrigued  by the following headline “How a stationary bike, paired with Google Street View, helps seniors with dementia”  so decided that this would be the start of this morning’s blog.  One of my preferred themes is dementia and the impact it has on everyone.  No surprise as “dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century: around 50 million people worldwide have dementia and this number is predicted to triple by 2050.[1]”     I have written about the  need for services and about both Canada’s Dementia Strategy and the Ontario Senior’s Strategy.  It continues to impact almost all of my clients so when new discoveries are made or new technology used to improve the lives of these individuals, I am interested.  While there is no cure,the Lancet  Commission on dementia, identified potentially modifiable health and lifestyle factors, that they indicate, if eliminated, might prevent dementia. This evidence suggests that if we change our lifestyle, we may be able to delay the onset of symptoms or maybe even prevent them.  The Alzheimer’s Society  provides the following health habits worthy of consideration:

  1. Break a sweat- studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline
  2. Hit the books- formal education, at any stage of life, will help reduce the risk
  3. Butt out- stop smoking. Evidence shows smoking increases risk of cognitive decline
  4. Follow your heart- Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke (obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes) negatively impacts cognitive health
  5. Heads up!- Reduce risk of brain injury- “Wear A Helmet” Chicken Little was right.
  6. Fuel up right- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. The DASH diet may help.
  7. Catch some Zzz’z- Not getting enough sleep (insomnia or sleep apnea) may result in problems with memory and thinking
  8. Take care of your mental health- studies have linked depression with an increased risk of cognitive decline
  9. Buddy up- Stay social and engaged
  10. Stump yourself- challenge your mind

All excellent advice for maintain good health, mentally, physically and cognitively.

Now back to the article of interest which describes how Carriage House Retirement Residence  is using ‘The BikeAround’ which originated in Stockholm.  Seniors ride a stationary bike and through the miracle of technology and Google Maps, can visit their favorite places, which bring back memories and provides both mental and physical stimulation.  The BikeAround originates from Sweden and will hopefully be available more widely in Canada soon.

[1] The Lancet, July 20, 2017

About Audrey Miller
Email: amiller@eldercaring.ca About: Audrey Miller, Managing Director of Elder Caring Inc. has over 25 years social work and rehabilitation experience working with older individuals and their families. She advises the financial, insurance, legal and business communities regarding elder care issues. Audrey is a recognized expert in her field.

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