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Reducing the risk of dementia

Dementia can strike any of us, and is on the increase because people are living longer and longer. But there are things which you can do to reduce the chances that you will develop dementia as you get older.

What you can do to reduce the risks

Exercising your brain

There is evidence that keeping mentally active can help to prevent or slow down memory problems. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word searches and jigsaws are all good ways of keeping the mind active. You can also buy or download games to play on a computer or smartphone which are designed to improve memory and problem-solving skills.

You can also look into adult education courses at your local college or community centre, or find clubs and organisations that offer activities you enjoy, like board games, book discussions, music or art.

Or you could start using your local library:

Staying fit and healthy

Eating a healthy diet and keeping physically active are also important. Try going for walks or to your local gym if you can manage it, and make sure you include plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein in your diet, which will help to keep your body and brain healthy. A vitamin or mineral supplement might also be useful, particularly for older people.

Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake

Drinking and smoking may raise the risk of dementia in later life because they shrink key parts of the brain associated with memory and decision making.  You can go to our pages on Help to stop smoking and Responsible drinking for more information on how to quit or reduce your intake.  

Keeping an eye on your blood pressure

People with high blood pressure are at greater risk of developing vascular dementia (the second most common dementia after Alzheimer's disease); you can go to our page on Blood pressure for more information on how to keep your blood pressure within safe limits.

Other information and advice

Please see the Useful Contact information page for organisations and services that support people with experience of dementia.