Retirement is a period of life that many of us look forward to as an opportunity to enjoy greater freedom in how we spend our time.

Whether you’ve already left work behind or you’re preparing for the future, taking care of your health could ensure that you get the most out of this special period of your life.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, and it typically affects people in their mid-60s or later. However, encouragingly, research reported by Nice News has shown that 40% of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia conditions, are preventable or could be delayed.

So, with Dementia Action Week running from 13 – 19 May, it’s an ideal time to improve your understanding of this condition and discover some practical steps you could take to reduce your risk of developing it.

Keep yourself physically active

Regular physical activity can offer many benefits, such as helping you to maintain a healthy weight, improving mental wellbeing, and reducing the risk of long-term conditions including dementia.

The NHS recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

This doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym – you could do any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you a little out of breath, for example, brisk walking or cycling. Indeed, choosing an activity you enjoy may make it easier for you to turn your new routine into a life-long habit.

The Alzheimer’s Society recommends combining aerobic exercise with strength-building activity, such as heavy gardening, dancing, and yoga. Strength training works your major muscles, which helps to control your blood sugar level and reduce your risk of diabetes – a risk factor for dementia.

Research conducted by the charity has found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 28% and by 45% for Alzheimer’s specifically.

Moderate alcohol intake

Excessive alcohol intake has been linked to an increased risk of conditions such as dementia because it affects brain health.

The UK Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

If you do enjoy an occasional tipple, government guidance suggests spreading out your alcohol consumption over at least three days, with several drink-free days each week.

Stay mentally and socially active

Research has shown that staying mentally and socially active may promote brain health and mental wellbeing.

According to research by the Alzheimer’s Society, people who experience social isolation or periods of depression may have a higher risk of developing dementia.

Engaging in social activities such as meeting with friends and family, volunteering, and taking part in adult education could potentially boost your brain’s ability to cope with disease.

If you’ve retired, you may need to build new social circles and find different ways to challenge your brain, such as taking up a hobby or spending time with your grandchildren.

Read more: 7 interesting ways to improve your social life during your retirement

Stop smoking

Smoking is linked to multiple health conditions including dementia, and particularly, Alzheimer’s disease.

Quitting could help to improve the circulation of blood through vessels in the brain, which may reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

However, stopping smoking can be difficult for some people, so you might benefit from seeking help.

The NHS has a Smokefree National Helpline, which is free to call on 0300 123 1044, or you could speak to your GP about local stop smoking services.

Manage long-term health conditions

If you have other long-term health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, this may increase your risk of developing dementia.

Fortunately, you could reduce this risk by managing your medical conditions effectively, such as by maintaining a healthy diet, following medical advice, and attending regular check-ups.

Get your hearing checked

Hearing loss may be an early symptom of dementia and people with hearing loss in mid-life (aged 40 – 65) may have an increased risk of developing dementia.

So, protecting your hearing and managing hearing loss could help to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

You can get free hearing tests on the NHS. Usually, your first port of call will be your GP, who may then refer you to a hearing specialist for a test.

If you do develop hearing loss, research by Alzheimer’s Research UK has shown that using hearing aids and cochlear implants could reduce the risk of cognitive decline, such as memory loss, by 19%.

While there’s no way of knowing what the future holds, taking a few practical steps towards improving your general health and managing existing medical conditions, could help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Get in touch

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you plan your retirement finances, please email us at or call 0800 077 8807.

Please note

This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.