As you may know, today is National Senior Day and we celebrated by participating in the annual health fair at Huntcliff Summit. The turnout was great and all the residents and exhibitors had a fabulous day! Looking forward to our June classes at Huntcliff. Keep exercising your brain if you want to keep it healthy-use it or lose it!
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Alzheimer’s disease is a common type of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. The main thing affected by Alzheimer’s is a person’s memory and cognitive abilities. There are 3 stages of Alzheimer’s disease: mild, moderate, and severe. Typically, a person will live 8-10 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but every case is different, and people can live much longer.
Here are some recognizing signs of Alzheimer’s in patients:
• Memory loss – Memory loss is the most common sign of Alzheimer’s disease, especially forgetting things that a person recently learned. If a person asks for the same information over and over, it is a sign of Alzheimer’s.
• Problem solving and concentration – If a person struggles with solving problems in his or her daily life or has problems concentrating with no prior history of such problems, this may be a sign of Alzheimer’s.If things take longer to do than they typically did before, this may be another sign.
• Hard time completing daily tasks – Frequently, a person with Alzheimer’s has a hard time completing daily tasks such as remembering a recipe that they have made many times before or balancing a checkbook.
• Vision problems – Vision problems can be one sign of Alzheimer’s disease in some people. Having a hard time reading or judging distances can be a sign.
• Time confusion – A person with Alzheimer’s disease may be confused about the time or the passage of time. Such a person may have a hard time determining when an event happened, whether it was immediately right before or a longer time in the past.
• Place confusion – One of the common signs of Alzheimer’s is if a person is confused where they are and how they got there.
• Lack of good judgment – One sign of Alzheimer’s in patients is lack of good judgment and a lack of good decision-making. Paying less attention to details such as personal grooming and eating right is a sign to look for.
• Speech problems – This is not having trouble speaking or not vocalizing. An Alzheimer’s patient may not be able to follow a conversation or may repeat something he or she has already said. Patients may also not be able to find the right word for something or may call things by the wrong name.
• Misplacing things – One sign of Alzheimer’s disease is misplacing things and being unable to find them or putting things in strange places where they do not typically belong.
• Mood changes – People with Alzheimer’s can experience mood changes from mild to severe. They can become more easily irritated because of what they are experiencing. Thus, they become frustrated and confused.
• Social withdrawal – Withdrawing from such things as hobbies, work, activities, and friends and family can be a sign of Alzheimer’s in patients.
It’s important to seek memory care right away when you see any warning signs.
Well, now it’s Sunday evening, thoughts about the new work week have entered your head, holidays are upon us, end of the year business deals, family stuff-again, why did I eat so much on Thanksgiving, why am I still eating so much, I’ve gained how many pounds already, and the list continues! Does your brain just hurt from too much information? So, I pose the question, “Are you stressed out?” Do you feel overwhelmed particularly this time of year? Well, here is some surprising information. Cluttering your brain with all this excess information is not useful.
Stress has been attributed to memory loss, decreased judgment skills, poor thought organization, and difficulty in forming clear, concise thoughts. Why would you want to do that to your brain? Our brains need proper fuel, food, and maintenance to achieve optimal levels of peak performance. Now, that’s a great way to bring in the holiday season and prepare for the upcoming new year. Okay now don’t stress out, but 2011 is just around the corner-less than 5 weeks!
Here is our advice on how to properly care for your brain so it will last a lifetime. First, let’s discuss fuel for your brain. You and your brain require energy to work effectively and efficiently. This means exercise for your brain and your body. Exercise your brain with knowledge and become a life long learner. We are never too old to learn. Learn a new language, a new game, join a new club or organization, volunteer somewhere new, change your daily routine. It’s all about the new learning and forming those new brain pathways through brain or neuro plasticity. Remember to exercise your body. It’s not necessary to train for a marathon or become an Olympic athlete. Recent studies have shown that just walking 6-9 miles per week decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. By exercising, you get the blood flowing and circulating throughout your body and your brain. It’s not that difficult to walk 6 miles. Of course if exercise is new to you, then definitely consult your physician before beginning any exercise program!
Next, let us share with you our advice on brain food. Of course it’s best to eat a well balanced diet comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, nuts, healthy fats (olive oil, omega 3 ), dairy, fresh herbs and spices, and fiber. Your plate should have an assortment of colors to ensure you have a good balance of healthy food choices. AVOID fast food! There are really no health benefits to consuming fast foods. So, just forget about it! We eat lots of walnuts, dark chocolate, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, wild salmon, fresh veggies with cold pressed olive oil, almonds, chicken, and fiber filled whole grains. If you’re having difficulty making “healthy” food choices or unsure about your choices, consult your physician. Of course, if you have food allergies or sensitivities as I do, always consult your doctor. I was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity, which can impair brain function. Lovely, huh? Anyway, a healthy diet is important to maintain a healthy brain that will last a lifetime.
Lastly, let’s discuss brain maintenance. This is also important to achieve optimal brain health and function. Stress, let it go! It’s a killer and just not needed! Don’t stress out over things beyond your control or things you can’t change. If you’re having trouble letting it go why not try some deep breathing exercises? Learn some yoga moves or learn to meditate. Begin each day with 10 minutes of silent positive thoughts and a smile on your face. Let your brain be a calm fertile ground so it may easily welcome new learning opportunities and absorb knowledge like a sponge.
The bottom line in order to achieve and maintain a healthy brain involves fueling your brain and body with exercise, feeding your brain with healthy brain foods, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.