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

A Light at the End of the Tunnel


Assisted living facilities have been hard-hit by the coronavirus. Thankfully, Wisconsin is faring better than some states, but families of dementia patients are facing a special kind of heartache. The “no visit rule” is crushing for families and facilities that in a more normal time would be encouraging family visits.

A dementia diagnosis takes a toll on families, and the pandemic has added to that burden. Dementia patients are often confused and require physical touch to connect, and the technology that has been uniting the rest of us is unfathomable to them.

In this kind of environment, it’s reassuring to know that Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) is working with partners across the state to implement a new Wisconsin State Dementia Plan called DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN.

The plan was informed by a statewide survey that took place in 2018, generating 1,600 responses from people with memory loss, family members, caregivers and professionals who work with individuals suffering from dementia.

According to research, 242,000 people in Wisconsin will be affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia by 2040, doubling from today’s numbers. This growth is at the core of DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN and its goal of improving the quality of life for individuals affected by dementia.

The intention of DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN is to prioritize the needs identified by the survey, namely:

  1. More options for people with dementia who are in crisis.
  2. Better care for people with dementia in assisted living and nursing homes.
  3. Greater awareness in our state about dementia and brain health.

A Steering Committee and leadership teams have been created to help in the main focus areas of communities, health care, crisis response and facilities.

In addition, a communications team will be creating a website for DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN. Until the website is ready you can subscribe to receive email updates.

If you’re a care facility with dementia patients, Wisconsin Caregiver Academy offers Train the Trainer courses addressing the unique challenges of dementia. Learn more.