A WORCESTER-based company helping ill and disabled people maintain their independence is urging county residents to keep active after a study showed a healthy lifestyle could be the best way to avoid developing dementia.

A recent study by the University of Cambridge showed smoking, lack of exercise, depression and sedative medication increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 per cent.

Dr Hannah MacKechnie of Radfield Home Care said making a few simple lifestyle changes could be all that is needed to prevent dementia.

“Whilst age is the most common reason for most cases of dementia, many individuals are unaware that improving their lifestyle and general health can significantly decrease their risk,” she said.

“There are a number of changes individuals can introduce to improve their health, but one of the most important is undertaking regular exercise.

“There’s more evidence that exercise will prevent the onset of dementia than any other measure, possibly because it reduces blood pressure and controls cholesterol.

“It’s never too late to improve your lifestyle, and eating a diet enriched with fruit and vegetables and omega-3, as well as giving up smoking are other factors that can make a real difference.”

It is thought more than 106 million people worldwide will be living with Alzheimer’s by 2050.