We are worried about the decline of cognitive function due to the prolonged corona misfortune. According to Katsuya Urakami, president of the Japanese Society for Dementia Prevention, “It is important to start dementia prevention in your 40s and 50s.” He asked about recommended lifestyle habits to prevent dementia, such as coloring books and exercise, and their effects.
Table of contents
- What is dementia? Check main symptoms
- Early treatment is the key! Dementia prevention starts in the 40s and 50s
- Beware of deterioration due to corona misfortune! Three Pillars of Dementia Prevention
- Easy at home! What is the dementia prevention effect of adult coloring books?
- Points to be aware of in dementia care for family members now in the corona wreck
What is dementia? Check main symptoms
What kind of disease is dementia?
“Dementia is a condition that develops from forgetfulness and is accompanied by various other symptoms that interfere with daily and social life,” says Urakami.
There are two types of dementia symptoms: core symptoms and peripheral symptoms.
“Core symptoms are always seen in dementia patients and are caused by the destruction of nerve cells in the brain. Typical symptoms include memory impairment, disorientation, impaired judgment, and language impairments, executive dysfunction, and reduced problem-solving ability.”
On the other hand, peripheral symptoms are also called BPSD (behavioral and psychological symptoms), and they do not always occur just because dementia has developed.
“Peripheral symptoms are secondary symptoms that occur when mental anxiety, confusion, and environmental factors are added to the core symptoms, and include apathy, depression, and wandering.”
Early treatment is the key! Dementia prevention starts in the 40s and 50s
Early treatment of dementia can slow the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms. If you suspect that you have dementia, you should first go to a hospital to be diagnosed with dementia and the possibility of another disease.
“If you become forgetful and cause trouble for those around you, or if you can no longer do things you used to do, you should see a doctor,” says Urakami.
If you have symptoms of dementia, you will generally see a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a geriatrician, or a neurosurgeon. Recently, an increasing number of hospitals have “forgetfulness outpatient clinics” that specialize in diagnosing dementia through interviews and tests.
Many people think that dementia is a disease of the elderly, but according to Mr. Urakami, the decline in brain function that leads to dementia starts in the 40s and 50s.
“Dementia often develops in people over the age of 65, with the highest number of patients in their 80s. If you count backwards from the age of onset, brain lesions are thought to have occurred as early as your 40s.It is not too early to start dementia prevention in your 40s or 50s.
Beware of deterioration due to corona misfortune! Three Pillars of Dementia Prevention
According to Mr. Urakami, the spread of the new coronavirus has reduced the number of opportunities to go out, so it seems that cognitive function is declining and symptoms are likely to worsen.
“Since 2020, the prolonged corona crisis has reduced opportunities to communicate with people, and various stimuli have become scarce, and it can be said that the cognitive function of the brain is likely to decline.”
So, what kind of points should we be aware of in order to prevent dementia in our daily lives?
“Exercise, intellectual activity, and communication are three important factors in preventing dementia,” says Urakami. I was taught a lifestyle that is effective in preventing dementia.
Recommended lifestyle habits to prevent dementia
Strength training, stretching, walking that can be done at home (observe social distance and be careful not to be crowded)
2. Intellectual activities
Games that improve cognitive functions such as memory, judgment, and thinking, activities that use your head and move your fingertips
Conversation with friends and family (online calls and phone calls are also OK)
Easy at home! What is the dementia prevention effect of adult coloring books?
There are various intellectual activities such as handicrafts such as knitting, go and shogi, puzzles, and origami.
“Coloring can be expected to improve visuospatial cognitive function, and it is one of the activities that even people with advanced symptoms can do. Adult coloring books are effective.”
The effectiveness of coloring books in preventing dementia has been scientifically proven.
“In the form of clinical art therapy, it has been certified by the Evidence Creation Committee of the Japanese Society for Dementia Prevention. I think it’s good to do about 10 minutes every day.It’s important to consider the difficulty of coloring according to the symptoms.”
Points to be aware of in dementia care for family members now in the corona wreck
The recommended lifestyle habits for dementia prevention introduced this time, including coloring books, are activities that are also incorporated in dementia rehabilitation (exercise therapy/occupational therapy).
Now that the symptoms of dementia are likely to worsen due to the corona sickness, if there is a family member with dementia nearby, it is necessary to support them so that they can do these activities at home.
“In the case of home care, please try to do the three preventive measures (exercise, intellectual activity, and communication) as much as possible to prevent symptoms from progressing.”
Even if you live in a nursing home or nursing home, it is good to visit as much as possible for communication.
“If you are in a facility, I think it is desirable to be able to see your face as much as possible. However, I have heard that many facilities are banning visitors now due to the corona crisis. It seems that there are cases where you can do it, so please inquire at the facility.”
In order to prevent deterioration of cognitive function and deterioration of symptoms not only for yourself but also for family members who live with you, let’s actively incorporate lifestyle habits to prevent dementia.