Dementia: Five household chores that ‘reduce our chances’ of developing dementia – expert

Dementia: Doctor outlines changes to help prevent disease

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Dementia is a syndrome (a collection of symptoms) associated with progressive brain decline. Although there is no cure for dementia, research suggests you can reduce your risk by making healthy lifestyle decisions that protect your brain. According to Fran Vandelli, dementia lead for Richmond Villages Willaston, engaging in household chores can erect a barrier against brain decline.

Ms Vandelli explained: “Our independence is closely linked to our sense of purpose, and can have a huge impact on our cognitive ability.

“While chores might seem boring, they actually play an important role in keeping our minds and bodies sharp – reducing our chances of developing dementia and helping those with a diagnosis live well for longer.

“With dementia, we know that it’s ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to skills, so it’s important that we help people to continue to do as much as they can for themselves. Familiar routines can help give a sense of meaning.”

So, what does she recommend?

According to Ms Vandelli, decluttering can bolster the brain defences: “Removing trip hazards is important for all older people, as our balance and sight decrease with age.”

“It’s particularly helpful for those with dementia who can struggle with their sense of depth or perception, putting them at higher risk of falls.”

As Ms Vandelli explained, injuries like hip fractures can reduce people’s mobility, social ability, mood, and confidence, “all of which can lead to depression, which can mimic or exacerbate the symptoms of dementia”.

It also creates opportunities to reminisce and collect together emotional and historic mementos, like photographs which can provide a useful aid for family, friends, and carers, she noted.

“Reminiscence draws on long-term memory – usually a strength for people living with dementia – which can give people a sense of competence and skill and also encourages communication.”

Bradley Walsh health: Star’s ‘silent disease’ battle [INSIGHT]
High cholesterol: Colours to spot in your poo [TIPS]
B12 deficiency: Signs your ‘dangerously’ low [ADVICE]

Making (and sharing) a pot of tea

Ms Vandelli explained: “Some evidence suggests that social isolation is linked to an increase in the speed of cognitive decline.”

While further research is needed, it’s important that we stay social as we age as it provides a vital sense of purpose, she noted.

As well as maintaining our social skills, staying hydrated will defend you from UTIs and constipation.

As Ms Vandelli pointed out, both of these can cause delirium, intensifying the symptoms of dementia.

“As with photographs, sharing memories with friends and loved ones can also help keep our minds sharp, whilst reducing the risk of depression.”


Exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce your chances of developing dementia.

“Mopping is great cardio, with an hour burning off up to 170 calories – equivalent to 15 minutes jogging on a treadmill,” noted Ms Vandelli.


Cooking offers a powerful combination of staying active and eating foods that nourish the brain.

“It helps us cut down on processed foods which can be high in salt, sugar and fat, leading to poor cardiovascular health and increasing our likelihood of developing diabetes, which studies have shown can increase the risk of dementia,” explained Ms Vandelli.


Ms Vandelli explained: “Not only is this good exercise but, having access to a well-maintained, safe outdoor space can help reduce feelings of anxiety or stress – which are commonly associated with dementia.”

According to the dementia expert, it can help people manage depression, which can exhibit similar symptoms to dementia such as difficulty concentrating, disturbed sleep, confusion, and memory lapses.

“As a result, depression can make the symptoms of dementia seem worse,” she warned.

If redesigning your garden, Ms Vandelli advised mitigating trip hazards by using flat surfaces, such as paving or decking, and installing handrails if needed.

“Make sure pathways are kept clear from plants and furniture to ensure the route around the garden is clearly visible.”

She added: “Some studies have shown that warm-coloured plants – like reds, oranges and yellows – are most easily distinguished for people with visual impairments.”

Source: Read Full Article