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2022: Fighting back against Alzheimer’s and dementia

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EMBRACING THE JOURNEY:  Knowing your Inner Hippie

“ASK THE HIPPIE”

By Phyllis DeLaricheliere, MS

We have had a silent enemy amongst our senior population for quite some time now…..Alzheimer’s/dementia.  Studies show that the way it’s progressing, by 2050 there will be 12 million diagnosed. We have learned so much about this disease/condition and as a society I’m proud to say, we are talking about it.

Research is expanding and the scientific community is laser focused on finding a cure. There are many drugs out there now, more than ever before, that the FDA has approved.  Although none of them provide a cure, quite a few provide some relief of symptoms, slowing down of progression for a bit of time and now a plaque buster.  With the disease of Alzheimer’s, the deterioration of the brain and the disruption of nerve cells communicating with the brain are primarily caused by plaques and tangles.  Aduhelm™ is a new drug and more data is still needed, but it’s focus is to reduce cognitive and functional decline seen with the disease.

Another exciting focus is early detection.  Most people say they do not want to know if they are a candidate for Alzheimer/dementia, but wouldn’t you want to?  Early intervention and care are always a surefire way to increase your chances of managing a diagnosis and putting up the best fight possible.  Tests are coming that will look for markers and identifiers to assist in early detection.

What can WE do now, to help OURSELVES and our brains to stay healthy and strong to stand against time, aging, and perhaps Alzheimer/dementia?  It’s simple, really.  Anything you would do to take care of your heart, you are taking care of your brain.  Remember, it’s an organ too.   So, a heart-healthy diet keeps the brain, its blood flow, and tissue healthy.  Two of the more popular ones are DASH and Mediterranean.

Exercise. Increase oxygen to the blood and pumping the heart during a safe activity benefits our brains as well.  Finally, as important as diet and exercise for the brain (and heart) is socialization.  Engaging and socializing with family and friends and enjoying moments in life, produces endorphins (happy, stress-reducing chemicals) stimulating the brain, lowering our blood pressure, and reducing tension on the heart.

It’s a NEW YEAR!  Take a breath, enjoy the NOW and eat, walk and talk for your NEW LIFE!

About the Author: Phyllis DeLaricheliere MS, author/columnist/lecturer is passionate about helping others understand compassionately the journey of Alz/dementia.  She is a welcomed educator for nursing programs and other clinical settings as well as a vibrant guest speaker to those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and allows them to feel supported and to see the disease from another side. WEBSITE:  www.askthehippie.com