Staying on Top of Dementia for Successful Aging

Introduction to the Rest of Your Life

In January of 2017, Dr. Kenneth Langa and group reported that in a population of 21,000 adults, 65 and older, the prevalence of dementia dropped 2.8% to 8.8% in from 2000 in 2012.  Previously, we assumed that acquiring dementia was our destiny as we got older and that it could come at any time; however, with evidence that it is actually decreasing, we need to take note. Even a reduced number of cases is a significant number, and you should know that in 2015 Alzheimer’s disease was number six on the leading causes of death in the United States.  This ranking came three years after the research.   This is somewhat shocking and is, therefore, the reason for writing an article about staying on top of dementia for successful aging.

Levels of education were attributed as a contributing factor to the above decrease, and education is an extremely important factor in maintaining good health, both physical and mental.  Many state university programs encourage further education by offering free opportunities to seniors.  Because each state has different programs,   “Google” those free opportunities for education in your state.  Further, attending school has been shown to be effective in reducing cognitive decline due to aging in addition to improving poor self-image and depression.

It is refreshing to note that the above decrease shows that we may finally be paying attention to those who have defined the necessary steps to further improve the above figures.  We know that the following factors are instrumental in preventing or prolonging some forms of dementia:

  • More people in our society have gone further in their education and are still learning.
  • Staying mentally active by participating in “social, cultural, economic, spiritual, and civic affairs.”
  • Improved quality of life by maximizing access to good health through physical, mental and social well being.

 

What Can You Do?

According to Medical News Today, the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are unknown; however, they do say that 80% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have some form of cardiovascular disease.  They recommend reducing the risks for cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack (the leading cause of deaths) and stroke (5th leading cause of deaths) with the following:

  • No smoking
  • Limited alcohol
  • Balanced diet
  • Good exercise, including walking or some form of sports
  • Routine blood pressure checks
  • If diabetic or pre-diabetic (seventh leading cause of deaths), pay special attention to all instructions from your doctor.
  • Increase mental activity with reading and writing for pleasure, learning new things, using those musical instruments, and anything else that helps you to focus better.

Smoking.  There are all kinds of resources to help you with this.  Many are free.  Please start with your doctor.

Limited alcohol.  This is usually explained as one drink a day for women and two for men.

Balanced diet.  This is as easy as looking it up on the Internet; however, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or any other factors affected by diet, please ask your doctor for a diet made just for you.

Good exercise.  The first thing to pop in one’s mind about exercise is the list of reasons for not doing any exercise.  Using them is self-defeating.  Walking is the number one recommended exercise, but even if you can’t walk, there are exercises out there for you.  Please find out what is available for you.

Blood pressure checks.  You can do these at home, in your local fire station, or at your primary physician’s office.

Diabetic or pre-diabetic.  The repercussions of acquiring diabetes are well known to most and include, according to the Mayo Clinic, damage to ears, kidneys (may lead to kidney dialysis, feet (may lead to amputation), nerves (may lead to neuropathy), eyes, skin; cardiovascular disease; and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mental activity.  With this last item in mind, it is helpful to select one of your hobbies and use that as a base for additional learning and concentration. Take gardening  for example.  There are so many additional activities attached to gardening. Just talking about it can be rewarding.   It provides lots of exercise and Vitamin D.  You can also write about it—keep good notes on what, when, and where you planted something, if it came up and produced a good crop, what you used or did to facilitate growth, etc.  And last but not least, you can eat the products of this hobby!  In fact, becoming an expert in one area of your life leads to all sorts of fulfillment.

 

“Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration—studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing—are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting, and golfing, are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s. (254)” 
― Norman Doidge

 

I can’t say enough about improving your mental activity, especially if you are doing something you are enjoying.  You will most likely be rewarded with an improved self-esteem, and that will hopefully lead you to believe enough in yourself to succeed in all of the other activities leading to the best of health.  If you have what it takes to be successful in any improved mental activity, you will want to accomplish all of the above.

Whatever disabilities you have, minimize them as far as you can.  Don’t use them as an excuse for not doing something that would improve your life overall.  And don’t forget, that improving your life automatically improves the quality of life for those around you.

Heed the Evidence and Proceed to Staying on Top Of Dementia

Staying on Top of DementiaYou read varying reports on just about anything these days, which causes you to wonder why one person’s observations are so vastly different from another’s reports.  When reading articles such as mine and others like it, you have to be sure you are comparing apples and apples.

Using our subject–dementia– for example:  If an article does not specify a particular type of dementia, you don’t know whether or not the article pertains to everyone with dementia or just certain groups.  There are different types including those with Alzheimer’s disease, drug use, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease,  traumatic brain injury, vascular disorders, and those caused by infections.  Alzheimer’s constitutes the largest part at 50 to 70%

According to the Cleveland Clinic, dementia has become more prevalent in that group they classify as “elderly–65 and older”  and they report that the most likely causes of this increase are that people are more informed about the symptoms of dementia or their extended longevity lends the possibility of acquiring Alzheimer’s.  In addition, they say that at age 85 and older, more than 50% will have Alzheimer’s.  This is especially important to acknowledge, as it means that just maybe we can lower that figure by applying all we have learned to prevent other diseases associated with it The time to start is now.

The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the dementia firing range. How will a society cope? Especially a society that can’t so readily rely on those stable family relationships that traditionally provided the backbone of care? Terry Pratchett
www.brainyquote.com/quotes

On a personal note, my work on this website definitely challenges my brain cells which sometimes seem to be more active than necessary.  Writing, researching my subject, deciding how to best present it, and learning the technical language associated with its presentation is working for me.  I meet every achievement here with thanks that I am still mentally active.  And while I did not intend to promote Wealthy Affiliate when I started this post, I can heartily do so by recognizing its benefits for me in terms of aging successfully.  By hosting my website and giving me all the training and information I need, Wealthy Affiliate has provided me the opportunity to make additional money that will continue into my retirement. I look forward to waking up, grabbing my coffee, and getting started on my website. If this interests you, please click on Wealthy Affiliate and investigate this as a possibility for you. Many members are making a living far beyond their expectations and use WA for their full-time work, while others use it as I do to supplement my income.

Based on a reader’s recommendation, I looked this book up and found it had hundreds of good reviews.  Check it out!

12 Replies to “Staying on Top of Dementia for Successful Aging”
  1. Very good points. I personally believe the risk factors involved in consuming alcohol far outweigh any perceived rewards. Very interesting point also that baby boomers will live longer. We’re going to see what these younger generations are really made of.

    • Hi Joseph, and thanks for reading my post. Today’s baby boomers have advantages my ancestors did not have–more scientific data to help them survive better. Having greater opportunities does not necessarily mean they will take action. We can only hope so.

  2. Another very interesting post, Tanya.

    Dementia is such a scary illness that can effect anybody. I have known people suffering from Dementia and it has been so hard to understand why one woman, in particular lost her life through this illness. She was a bright woman heavily involved in Church activities and family life. Her husband was a Lawyer and a very nice person. They had a very pleasant life style. The last time I saw that woman she was being lead by her husband into the Doctor’s surgery. She appeared to have no idea of what was going on around her. She would have been in her 60’s and past away not long after I saw them together.

    Another woman who was a Theatre nurse at a large city hospital was affected with Dementia when she was in her 50’s. It is so sad.

    Keeping active in mind and body appears to be helpful. If only there could be a cure. Dementia is so very hard for family members who attempt to keep their loved ones with them for as long as possible.

    • As you noted, Valerie, dementia has no boundaries. It can strike anyone. It is sad to observe people with dementia and especially difficult for close family members who must care for them. They all experience such discouragement, as once it shows up, it is there to stay. We owe it to ourselves and our family caretakers to do all that we can now to avoid or prolong the onset. Knowing what to do makes it much easier. Execution requires complete commitment! Thanks for reading my post and for your comments which I hope will raise awareness with my readers.

  3. Great article. I wish I would of had this around years ago when my great grandma and then couple years later my grandma had this. Both had diabetes. one lived to 65 and the other lived to 99 which she didn’t know anyone for years. this is very important information to have I am saving this article. beautifully written and very informative.

  4. Hi Crystal, and thanks for reading my post. I am sorry that your grandmothers had to endure both diabetes and dementia. Diabetes is another one of those illnesses that can be affected by some of our bad habits. Unfortunately, both diseases can be genetic in origin and that means you will have to work extra hard. I am sure that you can do it.

  5. As my Dad ages, I worry about his health. It is nice to know, as you stated in your article, that there are options out there to slow the process and get on top of his mental health. He is sure to enjoy reading this article.

    I have a question though. When it comes to diet, what can my Dad do to improve his mental well being? You mentioned it, but did not go into more depth. I would like to hear your thoughts. Thank you in advance and I hope you have a great day!

    • Hi Alex, and thanks for not only reading my post but for making comments. It is encouraging to see a son concerned for his dad. I would suggest that your dad see his doctor for a diet that is in keeping with maintaining mental acuity. Chances are that diet will eliminate fried foods, excess sugar, and other excess fats to start with.

  6. Both side of my family have suffer with this disease. I’ve been researching it so my young family can try to overcome this.
    An amazing resource I’ve found is a book called Headstrong by Dave Asprey. Have you read it?

    • Hi Vince,

      I appreciate your reading my post and the fact that you are already active with a regimen to fight dementia. No doubt you will see other benefits as well. Thanks for recommending Headstrong. I will definitely look into it.

  7. Thanks for taking a look at my post and for sharing with your parents. I hope it has something for all of us regardless of age because I believe that the earlier we start looking out for ourselves, the better off we will be.

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