Use it or Lose It

While strumming his guitar my Dad once told me that when it came to singing or playing an instrument that you must use it or lose it.  That’s crazy I thought.  I mean if you have an ability, you have an ability… right?  WRONG!  Try singing after not having done it in a few years and you might be shocked at the quality or tone that you produce.  It’s not pretty, trust me.  Just in the way that you must utilize a talent to keep it going, you also must work your brain to keep it healthy.

According to John E. Morley, MD, director of St. Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and author of The Science of Staying Young, “simple games like Sudoku and word games are good, as well as comic strips where you find things that are different from one picture to the next,”In addition to word games, there are other brain stimulating activities.

working-puzzle

  1. Socialization to improve the brain situation!  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies show that seniors who regularly participate in social interactions can retain their brain health. So keep connected with others. For those friends and family that live far away, correspondence by e-mail or social media or even writing letters can keep you connected.  Don’t stay holed up in your house alone.  This is not healthy for you on multiple levels including your brain.
  2. Keep Moving!  A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, among seniors, “moderate physical activity is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment after 2 years.” Simply taking a walk or doing chair exercise is a great way to get that heart pumping and keep the blood flowing to the brain.
  3. Lay Your Cards on the Table  Playing games with others is another way to maintain and increase brain health. Regularly playing board or card games, or engaging in other intellectually stimulating games with others helps keep your mind active.

The vitality of your brain is the superhighway to your overall health.  There are also many brain healthy foods that physicians recommend.  Check out the following list from healthable.org for a list of Foods to Keep Your Brain Fit!

brain-foods

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What Do These Famous Individuals All Have In Common?

What do Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Glen Campbell, Pat Summit, and Perry Como have in common?  Your first response might be that they are all famous, successful individuals.  You would be right, but the one thing that they all have in common is Alzheimer’s disease.  November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and now is a good time to learn more about the disease and what to do if you are concerned that a loved one may have memory problems.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that affects memory, language, thought and eventually, the ability to complete basic activities of daily living.  Scientist think as many as 4.5 million American’s have Alzheimer’s disease and the numbers go up beginning at age 60.  Scientist estimates that 50% of Americans age 85 and older have the disease.  One important point is that Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging.

If you have a loved one who is experiencing memory loss, make an appointment to see your primary care provider as soon as possible.  There are medications available today which help slow down the progression of the disease if they are started early in the disease process.  Delaying getting a diagnosis reduces the ability to slow the disease earlier in the process.

If you have a loved one who has been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, get as much information as you can and look for a support group in your area.  Explore programs in your area for individuals with memory loss and begin to look at senior living options for when living at home is no longer possible.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself.  Care giving for an individual with memory problems is challenging and many care givers face health challenges of their own.

Alzheimer’s disease affects individuals regardless of their race, sex, social background or financial class.  Getting up to date information will help you find the answers you need.