The 8 Easy Changes To Make In 2024 To Slash Your Dementia Risk

As recommended by a leading Alzheimer's charity.
Active man running by the sea
Anchiy via Getty Images
Active man running by the sea

According to Alzheimer’s UK, dementia is the UK’s biggest killer and one in three people born in the UK today will develop the condition in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, the biggest risk factor for developing dementia is getting older which is, of course, unavoidable, but Alzheimer’s Society has outlined the steps that people can take to reduce their own risk.

How to reduce your risk of developing dementia

Get your hearing checked

Recent studies have shown that even mild hearing loss can increase your risk of dementia. While many people tend to lose their hearing as they get older, there has been evidence of hearing loss occurring in younger people with 43% of 16-35 year olds recently being found to experience it.

You can usually book a hearing test at your local optician or if you’re very worried about your hearing, you should ask your GP for a referral to an audiologist. If you are found to have hearing problems, they’ll be found here and you’ll be provided with treatment options such as hearing aids.

If you are often exposed to loud noises for long periods or regularly attend gigs, wear ear protection. There are earplugs available specifically for enhancing concert experiences while protecting your hearing so it’s a win-win.

Make sure you regularly do mental workouts

Giving your brain a workout will help to keep your memory and thinking skills working for longer. Some of the ways you can exercise your brain are reading, card games, board games, arts and crafts, crosswords and puzzles.

Also, try to keep learning new skills such as languages, singing with a local group or starting a new hobby. If you’re not sure about which skills you’d like to develop, consider volunteering with a local charity.


According to Alzheimer’s Society, socialising gives your brain a great workout and can reduce your risk of dementia. This is most effective in-person but online or over the phone can be really helpful, too.

This is because conversation with someone can exercise a wide range of your mental skills including active listening, empathising, recalling previous information and finding meaning.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is essential to wellbeing and regularly getting a good night’s sleep may reduce your risk of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society highlights that sleep apnoea is a common problem that stops a person breathing normally while they’re asleep. This can prevent enough oxygen getting to the brain and, over time, it may increase the risk of dementia. People who have sleep apnoea often snore heavily and wake up in the middle of the night with a start. They may also start the day with a headache as well as being tired, moody and finding it hard to concentrate.

If you are having any difficulties with sleeping, speak to your GP.

Exercise more often

A healthy brain relies on a healthy heart, lungs and blood circulation to get enough blood and oxygen. This is why making lifestyle changes that are good for our heart also reduces our risk of dementia.

A healthy brain relies on a healthy heart, lungs and blood circulation to get enough blood and oxygen and one way to keep all of those healthy is regular exercise.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, research has shown that doing regular physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia. Ideally, a mix of aerobic, strength and balance exercises are best.

Do what works best for you. If that’s a workout video you can do at home, going for walks with a small group of people or even a gym session, make sure it’s within your comfort zone and that you take your time working up to workouts if you’re out of the habit of exercise.

Eat healthier

Rather than crash-dieting or making promises you can’t keep when it comes to your diet, Alzheimer’s Society instead recommends making gradual but lasting changes to what you eat and drink so that you feel healthier, happier, and reduce your risk of getting sick.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet may reduce your risk of dementia and other conditions such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. By eating a range of different foods in the right proportions you are more likely to get all the nutrients you need for your brain to stay healthy.

Alzheimer’s Society also states that there is some evidence that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of developing problems with memory and thinking, and getting some forms of dementia. This diet involves more fruit, vegetables and cereals and leaving out red meat and sugary foods.

Quit smoking

According to Alzheimer’s Society, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing dementia in later life.

This is because smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body, particularly the blood vessels in the brain, as well as the heart and lungs. Additionally, the toxins in cigarette smoke cause inflammation and stress to cells which have both been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Cut down on booze

Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society said, “try to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol each week. This is equal to about one pint of beer or a small glass of wine each day. If you regularly drink much more than this, you are increasing your risk of harming your brain and other organs, and so increasing your risk of dementia.”

Additionally, cutting out alcohol can lead to other health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced diabetes risk, lower cholesterol and reduced levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.