Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce The Risk Of Dementia

7 Minute Read

While no cure has yet been found for dementia, we can adopt some healthy behaviours to help reduce the risk of developing it or delay its onset.

Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce The Risk Of Dementia
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

While we grow a little weary of health advice on what and what not to do to avoid certain illnesses, there is common advice coming from researchers in the field of dementia. It points to adopting certain lifestyle factors to reduce the risk of or delay the onset of dementia.

A significant study[1], funded by the US National Institute on Aging and released in 2020, highlights five healthy behaviours that reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s in its cohort of 3,000 research participants.

The five healthy behaviours to adopt




A combined high quality Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, otherwise known as the MIND diet[2]. This involves eating from 10 healthy food groups:

  • Leafy green vegetables: at least six servings / week.

  • Other vegetables: at least 1 serving / day.

  • Berries: at least 2 servings / week.

  • Whole grains, at least 3 servings / day.

  • Fish: 1 serving / week.

  • Poultry: 2 servings / week.

  • Beans: 3 servings / week.

  • Nuts: 5 servings / week.

  • Wine: 1 glass / day.

  • Olive oil.

The MIND diet limits servings of red meat, sweets, cheese, butter/margarine and fast/fried food.



Do Not Smoke

It doesn't matter what age you give it up. Giving it up will improve your health.



Limit Alcohol

Limit your consumption of alcohol. Men should not have more than two standard drinks a day; and women one.




At least 150 minutes per week (less than 20 minutes a day) of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. Consider taking up:

  • Endurance activities such as walking, cycling or dancing to increase your breathing, get your heart pumping, and boost your endorphins to improve mood;

  • Yoga practice combining physical postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation;

  • Tai chi involving shifting the body slowly, gently, and precisely, while breathing deeply; and

  • Activities you enjoy be they gardening, playing tennis or aqua aerobics.



Intellectual Activities

Keep the mind active through intellectual activities. While there are conflicting studies on this point, some scientists maintain that keeping the brain active and "massaged" with cognitive activities can make the brain more adaptable for when age-related brain changes begin. So take up volunteering, play bridge, enjoy crosswords and Sudoku, learn a new skill or hobby, enrol in a language class - the possibilities are endless.

For Canberra residents, one tremendous involvement, an initiative of Brian Triglone OAM, is Alchemy Chorus[3], a choir of people living with dementia.



Other lifestyle changes beneficial to brain health[4 & 5]

  • Prevent or control high blood pressure;

  • Avoid medications with possible side effects on memory, sleep and brain function;

  • Keep up seven to eight hours of sleep each night;

  • Be socially engaged and in touch with the world around you. Get involved as a volunteer or join a social group to keep your brain exercised with conversation and discussion; and

  • Manage depression and anxiety.


Next week I’ll talk about the importance of maintaining and respecting the independence of people living with dementia.


If you are visiting someone living with dementia, download our Dementia Activity Poster for great ideas of activities you can share with your loved one.

Dementia Activity Poster

Activities for Living in the Moment & Enjoying the Present

Visits to a loved one living with dementia can be an amazing and rewarding experience for both of you. But we know it's not always easy knowing what activities to enjoy with them that will be rewarding, fun and comfortable.

We put together a list of enjoyable activities for your visits.

It's free and easy to download; we invite you to get your copy.

Submit the form below and we'll send it directly to your email address.

Dementia Activities Poster



Seeking care for a loved one? Please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
- Contact Danielle - For An Impartial & Confidential Conversation



[1] National Institutes of Health (NIH): Combination of Healthy Lifestyle Traits May Substantially Reduce Alzheimer's
[2] National Institute on Aging: What Do We Know About Diet and Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease
[3] Alchemy Chorus
[4] National Institute on Aging: Keep Cognitive Health and Older Adults: Keep Your Mind Active
[5] ABC Four Corners: Holding On To Hope



Danielle Robertson

Danielle Robertson

Working with you and your support network to get the right care outcomes for you and your loved ones. Danielle Robertson is founder and CEO of DR Care Solutions, offering aged care and disability care concierge services and expertise on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place. Danielle's experience in the Australian care sector spans over three and a half decades. Now that's a lot of experience, wisdom and networks!