5 Tips to Help Reduce Your Risk

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If you believe most dementia happens because of your family genes, there’s some surprising news for you.

The truth is, you can blame your family for many things (LOL), but dementia symptoms are not usually inherited. Only about 5% of the time it’s genetic, meaning that 90 - 95% of the time, it’s not.

So if you have dementia in your family, you might worry more than necessary about the future.

If you don’t have dementia in your family yet, you might miss opportunities to reduce your risk or overlook common symptoms that could be potential red flags.

Easy ways to reduce your risk

Anyone can develop dementia, no matter their age, income, education level, cultural background, or family history – and there are many other factors besides genetics that can contribute to a diagnosis.

But... if you're aiming to eat better, move more, or reduce your stress, you’re already on your way to reducing your risk of dementia down the road.

These simple actions can help you reduce your risk of dementia – including prioritizing quality sleep, following a healthy diet, making social connections, reducing your stress, and (one of the most popular resolutions) getting more regular exercise.  

Exercise delivers more oxygen to the brain and also fosters the growth of new nerve cells, crucial for memory, learning, and decision-making. It also lowers your chances of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes—things linked to higher risk of dementia. It improves your mood, too.

HOT TIP: Something as easy as incorporating moderate-intensity movement, such as brisk walking, into daily routines can slow cognitive decline.

Try these tips to keep it simple

1. Start where you can.

You don’t always need to make big or complicated changes. Your mindset plays a big part in helping you achieve success. If you truly believe a change is doable, you’ll open up more possibilities.

2. Set reasonable goals.

If finding time for exercise is tough, start small. Swap the elevator for stairs, park a little further away from store, or dance to your favourite song while you’re getting ready. Small steps, big wins!

3. Think of it as "movement" or “activity,” versus "exercise".

Let’s face it, “movement” can feel more doable than straight-up “exercise,” and it can feel more enjoyable, too. Pick activities you genuinely like, so it’s not a chore. Whether it's dancing, snow shoeing, or doing a 15-minute yoga from YouTube, keep it light, keep it moving, and keep it fun!

4. Try a new class.

When boredom or routine set in, a new challenge can bring the fun back. Experienced instructors help you find proper form and technique, which is perfect if you’re trying something new.

Whether it's a heart-pumping spin session or a zen yoga class, fitness classes add a dose of variety and help you connect with new people (HOT TIP: Social time is also a big yes for your brain health).

5. Plan activities with a friend.

Whether it's a partner, family member, work mate, neighbour or roommate, being active together gives you that added boost of social connection. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a breathless sweat-fest to be good for your brain.


Get out there

Get moving

Get social

And have fun. :)

Learn more about how to reduce your risk here.

Curious to test your dementia knowledge? Check out even more myths here

If you have questions, please reach out to the support team at Alzheimer Calgary: 403-290-0110 or findsupport@alzheimercalgary.ca