RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Tina Thomas is taking a break from her work day with a page from an adult colouring book. As she adds blues and pinks to an owl mandala, Thomas exercises her brain in honour of her mother-in-law, whose Alzheimer’s Disease went unrecognized for years.
“When we got the diagnosis, it was sort of an Aha moment for us because then everything made sense,” says Thomas, who now works for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter.
Thomas remembers how her mother-in-law’s behaviour had changed, which is a main symptom of Alzheimer’s. Early on, it can mimic depression, anxiety and stress, so Thomas says it’s critical that everyone take care of their mental health.
“Going to your healthcare practitioner, talking to them about your mood, how you’re feeling is very important.”
Also, the more you buddy up and socialize, the better.
“Communicating with people every day, staying connected to friends and family. It’s one of the most strategic things we can do to keep that brain going.”
Thomas turns to colouring but says any way you stump yourself with a puzzle or strategy game helps. Hitting the books can also offer a brain boost.
“The more that you go to school, the more that you learn, learn new things, challenge yourself, the better off you’re going to be.”
Thomas encourages everyone to break a sweat, and some workouts are even better for your brain health than others.
“Tennis helps to cross-train your brain, so you’re working all sides of the brain at the same time.”
At the end of the day, catch enough z’s for improved memory and thinking.
“That’s how we reboot the brain, the same way we reboot our computers is getting good rest and sleep in the evenings.”
Thomas adds Alzheimer’s prevention comes in the form of eating a balanced diet, kicking the smoking habit and preventing head injuries at all ages. Also, pay attention to your heart health because risk factors for cardiovascular disease can hurt your brain health.
The Alzheimer’s Association came up with the Ten Ways to Love Your Brain checklist for Alzheimer’s prevention. You can learn more about ways to keep your brain healthy and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s by clicking this link.