Happy older couple riding bicycles

Change Your Habits


Early signs of dementia include having a difficult time remember a recent conversation, names or locations. Patients may also experience apathy or depression. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Dementia is progressive, which means it can worsen over time. But new evidence suggests that if you change your habits, you can stop dementia from occurring or becoming more severe.

1. Quit smoking.

It’s never too late. 90% of people quite cold turkey, but other ways are available, according to WebMD. There are also herbs and essential oils that can support your efforts.

2. Be physically active.

30 minutes three times a week. Walk around the neighborhood. Bring a friend, so you can catch up. Dance in your living room.

3. Make sure you get enough Vitamin B.

Adequate levels of B vitamins (folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12) slow down brain atrophy in patients with mild impairment. Foods high in B vitamins include:

Leafy greens
Liver and other organ meats
Oysters, clams and mussels
Chicken and turkey
Nutritional and Brewer’s Yeast
Fortified cereal
Sunflower seeds

4. Make sure you get enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is crucial for mental health. And the good news is easy to come by. When you walk outside, expose your skin to the sun (no sunscreen) for at least 15 minutes.

5. Train your brain.

When you learn new things, your brain has to work to reorganize, creating new neural pathways. Consider:

Taking a class
Learning a new language
Doing crossword puzzles or sudoku
Playing scrabble or chess

6. Increase your social interaction.

Humans are social creatures, so spending too much time along can wear down your brain. Combine some of the habits above by walking with a friend or meeting new people at a class.

By changing your habits, you can not only stop dementia but improve your overall health, increasing your quality of life. What’s stopping you? Start today.


The Wisconsin Caregiver Academy offers two courses, designed to prepare caregivers for the unique challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Completion of both courses earns a digital badge that can be displayed on a resume, social media or an email signature to demonstrate ongoing continuing education.


Lifelong Learning Institute is a unique program for retired or leisure adults to take up to 20 classes a semester for a low membership fee. No tests, no grades. Just learning for the fun of it.


Daily Health Post, “9 Habits You Need to Adopt Today to Stop Alzheimer’s or Dementia Before It Starts,” March 19, 2020

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