As drug trials fail to find a pill to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, the doomsday clock ticks. Stats predict what they say may be inevitable, a sizable portion of a very large older population with serious memory impairments. I won’t throw out the numbers as they seem to change with the source. Personal responsibility seems to be the only answer to a massive public health problem. Changing your entire lifestyle is supposed to help reduce risk, with no guarantees – no promises beyond a percentage reduction.
It all comes down to are you willing to commit to a bunch of do’s and don’t for the opportunity to have more years in control of your brain function. Aging has always been partially about surrendering to the inevitable. Death will come for all of us but what state will you be in?
Getting grim here but the reality is that a lot of the to do list to prevent memory loss is very positive stuff.
Like LAUGH MORE. In this age of political comedy on steroids that can be a welcome relief. Not focusing on the the most dire aspects of the news is hard. Balance it out with humor.
SLEEP BETTER. That can justify buying some of the latest bed/sleep technology and guarding your sleep like a bear in winter. Naps are good and a reward in themselves.
MEDITATE. A reason to zone out or in to the quiet beauty in life, to focus on your own needs.
LEARN NEW THINGS. This is a great excuse to try what you did not have time or energy before when you were younger. Just say I am guarding my cognitive reserves. I do not mean puzzles, do something that makes the little corners of your brain want to rest. A new language may be in reality figuring out a new tech app.
REDUCE STRESS. This one is a double edged sword. Paying attention to life provides stress. Letting it dominate you is a big mistake. Hang out with people who are more positive then negative.
Yes, there are other caveats of not smoking, controlling weight and blood pressure, avoiding too much alcohol and of course the regular exercise rule. The World Health Organization talks about a global epidemic and proposing national polices. If no medical/ research entity can come up with the cure/vaccine it will all come back to personal responsibility. The five rules I capitalized above are not a guarantee but would certainly help with enjoying the ride.