Lifestyle Choices to Improve Brain Health

senior women exercising

There’s no cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, but the good news is that there’s a growing body of evidence that the right lifestyle choices can have a positive impact on overall brain health. This means that a person has the power to reduce and control their risks.

Dr. Jacobo Mintzer, Executive Director of the Roper St. Francis Research and Innovation Center, collaborated with fellow members of the AARP Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) to develop the following lifestyle areas of importance, and to provide recommendations to enhance brain health.

  1. SLEEP

Sleep is vital to the aging brain. Unhealthy sleep patterns can negatively affect attention, memory and executive functioning. To maximize your sleep:


Feeling socially connected and that you have a purpose in life enhances your brain health. Keeping and building relationships over your lifetime keeps your thinking sharp. To become more socially connected:


An active lifestyle and regular exercise helps your mind stay fit. Some suggestions include:


Eating right is essential for both heart health and brain health. For optimal nutrition:


Education and learning are known to enhance cognitive function, making you less susceptible to the effects of age or disease-related brain changes. Here’s what you can do:


Greater optimism, positive attitude, life satisfaction and purpose in life were associated with a reduced risk of dementia. To improve your mental well-being:

Help for Memory Concerns

The Roper St. Francis Research and Innovation Center offers free, confidential assessments to evaluate your memory and cognition. Information from the memory assessment is preliminary and educational, not diagnostic. Results should be shared with a person’s primary care doctor since they provide additional information to inform clinical decision making. Relevant research opportunities are also shared with the individual, if interested.

To schedule a free memory screening at the Roper St. Francis Research and Innovation Center, call (843) 724-2302. To find a Roper St. Francis doctor you are comfortable talking with about memory concerns, call (843) 402-CARE (2273).

By Jacobo Mintzer, MD, MBA

Resources: AARP Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) – Lifestyle Choices and Brain Health.