resident in a wheelchair

June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

By: Paige Lueken, MS, RDN, LDN 

Alzheimer’s Disease: What is it, and Why is it Prevalent in the Elderly?

Normal Brain vs. Alzheimers Brain

Like any other organ in our body, the brain can wear down. As we age, one of the most common brain disorders that can develop is Alzheimer’s disease. 1 in 10 people over age 65 develop Alzheimer’s, and it is found in almost half of those who live past the age of 85. With this disease, brain cells lose their ability to form new connections with other cells – a common occurrence as we age. Supplies of messenger chemicals decline, making the ability to learn new information a challenge.

5 facts about our brain

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, nerve cells begin to die. The death of nerve cells destroys the brain’s ability to understand the world. Sadly, no one yet knows why or how Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain cells, but scientists worldwide are working to solve the mystery.

Food for Thought: Brain Health

Food is medicine and thankfully, your brain and memory function can stand a boost by consuming some of these items!

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Berries
  • Fatty fish
  • Tea and coffee
  • Walnuts (they even look like a brain!)
resident with leafy greens sign

Our wellness team ensures residents know all about the benefits of “brain food.”

Research Shows: Blueberries Improve Memory

yogurt and berries - superfoods

Fresh berry smoothies prepared by our Chefs, for an easy way to consume a healthy serving of berries.

Antioxidants in blueberries promote memory and coordination by enhancing existing brain cell connections and improving neurocellular communication. More specifically, antioxidants in berries may protect against, and even reverse, some age-related memory loss by preventing free-radical damage and improving blood flow.

Our teams don’t just serve up brain-healthy foods – they also teach residents about the benefits and suggested serving sizes.

Berries are also thought to exert positive effects on learning and memory by enhancing existing brain cell connections, improving cellular communications, and stimulating the brain to produce more neurons and maintain the structure and function of already existing neurons.

In summary: While the effects of aging on the body are hard to prevent, fruits and vegetables can be some of your best offenses to leading a long and healthy life!