Part 6 of my “Senior Moment or…Something More?” Series
So you’re wondering if there’s dementia in your family, or your future, or more specifically – perhaps Alzheimer’s. And just what is the difference between the two?
- Dementia is a general term for memory decline that interferes with daily activities. It may become evident as memory loss, language problems, personality changes, erratic judgments, bizarre behaviors. The signs of a problem that develop will depend on what portion of the brain is affected.
- Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia. As a person ages, the risk of developing this disease increases. Death can be anywhere from four to twenty years after symptoms become noticeable to family and friends.
My local healthcare provider, Banner Health, and its Alzheimer’s Institute has developed a “Recipe for a Healthy Brain.” You may be disappointed to learn that there are no big surprises or instant cures here. Ingredients include:
- Daily exercise
- A heart healthy diet
- Mentally stimulating activities
- Socializing on a regular basis
- Maintaining an upbeat outlook on life
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Mix these ingredients daily and enjoy a longer, happier life.
So phooey! Right? In case you needed even more reasons to exercise and eat right, add avoiding Alzheimer’s to the list. We’ve all heard ad nauseam about regular exercise protecting against diabetes, stroke, heart disease, increasing our endorphins, and improving our mood. And keep up those challenging rounds of crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and playing bridge, along with listening to “pink noise.” Huh? Yep – it’s the latest experimental technology to enhance a good night’s sleep. It’s an engineered sound that scientists at Northwestern University say is more soothing than the better-known white noise and short bursts during sleep can improve cognition. Who would have thought sleeping well would be a simple, safe, non-drug approach to improving memory? So start snoozing and get those neurons firing.
Next episode: Get Your Cognition Together:
- Memory – Do your daily exercise
- Language – Why it counts
- Attention and Calculation Skills – How they help
- Visuospatial Skills – What are they?
- Executive Function – Just who’s in charge here?
Sounds like more fun.