I will admit that until I began working in the senior living sector, I knew very little about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. It was not something I had seen on a personal or family level. That has changed. Now I know and care for people affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. I understand that they are not all one in the same. There are even different types of dementia. I have come to know some of the devastating effects they take on lives. Since June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, I thought I could help do my part by shining a purple light.
Did you know that according to the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Alzheimer’s is fatal. It kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined.
- Alzheimer’s is not normal aging. It’s a progressive brain disease without any cure.
- Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss. It appears through a variety of signs and symptoms.
Per the website alz.org, “A number of studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Experts are not certain about the reason for this association. It may be due to direct mechanisms through which social and mental stimulation strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain.”
During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks you to learn more about Alzheimer’s. Share your story and take action. It may be as simple as bringing awareness via social media. Alzheimer’s disease awareness is represented by the color purple, and in June, thousands of Americans will turn their Facebook profile purple with an “END ALZ” icon. If you need help or more information on ways you can raise awareness of the truth about Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org/abam to get started.
As we look to the future and think about getting older, one of the common concerns is that we all want to be healthy as we enter our senior years. Some of us come from a long line of ancestors who live a long time and have very few health problems. Others have ancestors who tend to have chronic health issues and while they live a long time, are challenged with maintaining good health later in life. What can I do if I didn’t hit the genetic lottery? How can I take action today to improve my chances of being healthy and active as I age?
Take a good look at the lifestyles of your ancestors. Some of us think we inherited a strong history of heart disease, but when we look closely we see a strong history of lifestyle behaviors that contributed to the heart disease like smoking, obesity, and an inactive life style. Lifestyle is a big factor in accounting for our likelihood of having chronic health issues as we get older. Taking some basic steps today can help you overcome some of your genetic history. Below is a list of ideas to help you control what you can to increase your chances for an active healthy life as you age:
- Don’t smoke, if you do smoke, quit.
- Exercise, even walking 3 or more times per week helps improve y our overall health.
- Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink water; try to limit sodas and soft drinks.
- If you drink, do so in moderation.
- Stay active and engaged with friends, social support helps our mental health.
- Keep your mind active and challenged. Read, do puzzles, take up a new hobby, play cards or games.
While we can’t change our genetic makeup, how we live our lives can have a big impact on how we age and whether we develop chronic diseases. Get busy and take control of your future!
For more information, visit GreatOaksManagement.com!