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What do mental health and dementia have in common?

Mental illness is a disorder of the brain. Same with dementia.

In physical therapy term, we have what we call strength reserve.

The more strength reserve that we have, the higher the chances of a person to recover when they injure themselves or when they have surgery. Same thing with our cognitive reserve.

The more cognitive reserve that we have, the lesser the risk for us to get dementia. Our brain has basically three functions, how we think, how we feel, and how we move. Here are some tips to improve our mental or cognitive reserve.


  1. Learn how to take care of yourself. Eat a well balanced meal, avoid cigarettes, limit alcohol intake and drink plenty, I mean plenty of water.
  2. Surround yourself with good and encouraging people. Find a coach, go to church, expose yourself to people who will bring out the best in you.
  3. Start an attitude of gratitude journal. The more you focus on the good, the more you will get out of it.

We all know that education and prevention is very critical in mental health. Good cognitive reserve combined with good physical and socially active lifestyle and a healthy diet helps reduce the risk of dementia and slows it progression with people who have been diagnosed with dementia.

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About the author 

Dr Michael Chua PT, DPT

Dr Michael Chua is a physical therapist practising in Home Health, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Acute Care Hospital. His clinical interest involves pain management, geriatrics and dementia management. He enjoys treating patients and bringing out the best in them using positive treatment approaches, his dynamic work setting in a rural area provides an opportunity to treat a wide range from geriatrics to orthopaedics.

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