Perspectives on Facing Dementia

Best practices to reduce odds of getting dementia

As a 70 year old, one of the scariest words to me is “dementia.” So, how can we deal with it better?

According to the National Institute on Aging:

“Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. These functions include memory, language skills, visual perception, problem solving, self-management, and the ability to focus and pay attention. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.”

This does sound pretty scary, right? BUT:While dementia is more common as people grow older (up to half of all people age 85 or older may have some form of dementia), it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.”

To learn more, visit these resources:

The last of these resources, highlights a recent research study that found:

“In all, nearly half of respondents to the National Poll on Healthy Aging felt they were likely to develop dementia as they aged, and nearly as many worried about this prospect. [The poll asked 1,028 adults ages 50 to 64 a range of brain health questions.] In reality, research suggests that less than 20 percent of people who have reached age 65 will go on to lose cognitive ability from Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or other conditions.

“Despite the brain-related concerns of so many respondents, only 5 percent of the entire group, and 10 percent of those who said they had a family history of dementia, said they had talked with a health care provider about how to prevent memory problems.”

“The poll shows that a greater percentage of adults in their 50s and early 60s who say they get adequate sleep and exercise, eat healthily, and are active socially at least several times a week felt their memory was just as sharp now as it was when they were younger, compared to those who do not engage in these healthy behaviors as frequently. But those who said their health was fair or poor, or who reported that they didn’t often engage in healthy lifestyle practices, were much more likely to say that their memory had declined since their younger years. In all, 59 percent of poll respondents said their memory was slightly worse than it used to be.”

“For anyone who wants to stay as sharp as possible as they age, the evidence is clear: Focus on your diet, your exercise, your sleep, and your blood pressure. Don’t focus on worrying about what might happen, or the products you can buy that promise to help, but rather focus on what you can do now that research has proven to help.”

Perspectives on Facing Dementia
Credit: Getty Images

 

Health Benefits Available Through AARP

Great resources from AARP

AARP’s mission “is to empower people to choose how they live as they age.” In the United States, it has nearly 40 million members. And annual dues are about $15 per person. [NOTE: Our blog is a nonprofit. This is not an advertisement for AARP.]

The organization offers a number of health-related resources. Some are free. While others are offered at a discount.

Click the image to learn more about each health-related resource offered by AARP. When on the Web site, scroll down to health and wellness.

Health Benefits Available Through AARP
 

Reader’s Digest on Health

Great information and advice.

The Reader’s Digest has an excellent Web site dedicated to health-related issues: https://www.rd.com/health/. As the site notes — “Learn the latest health news along with easy ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle. From diet and weight loss tips to advice on managing and preventing diabetes, we’ll keep you looking and feeling your best.”

Here are a few recent posts:

Click the image to read more.

Reader's Digest on Health
 

Using Robotics to Help Those with Severe Disabilities

Advances in robotics are quite helpful.

For those with severe physical disabilities, even simple tasks may be difficult. And that can be depressing. But, companies are making great strides with robotics. These advances have the potential to increase the quality of life. Read below and then view the video.

Here is one example, as discussed by John Toon of Georgia Tech:

“An interface system with augmented reality technology could help people with profound motor impairments operate a humanoid robot to feed themselves and perform routine personal care tasks. Those tasks might include feeding and performing routine personal care tasks such as scratching an itch and applying skin lotion. The web-based interface displays a ‘robot’s eye view’ of surroundings to help users interact with the world through the machine.”

“Described in PLOS ONE, the system could help make sophisticated robots more useful to people who don’t have experience operating complex robotic systems. Study participants interacted with the robot interface using standard assistive computer access technologies—such as eye trackers and head trackers—that they already used to control their personal computers.”

“The paper reports on two studies showing how such ‘robotic body surrogates’ — which can perform tasks similar to those of humans —could improve the quality of life for users. The work could provide a foundation for developing faster and more capable assistive robots.”


 

Numerous Health-Related Videos

How to be healthier.

Today, we feature four valuable health-related videos. We hope you find them valuable. 🙂

12 Health Problems Your Hands Are Warning You About
11 Signs of Health Problems Hidden On Your Face
10 Benefits Of Exercise On The Brain And Body – Why You Need Exercise
How to Implement a Healthy Lifestyle | Setting Habits & Wellness Goals


 

Improving Your Memory

How can we have a better memory?

This topic certainly interests me. Why? Just last week, I forgot something and had to drive back. And there are many times I walk upstairs to my home office and forgot why I’m there. As we age, our memory usually becomes more challenging.

While not a cure all, tips from Adam Grant, writing for the NY Times, may be helpful:

“’Everybody has a great memory for something, Joshua Foer explained on my WorkLife podcast. “Incredible memory capacities are latent inside of all of us — if we use the right techniques to awaken them. So ditch the bad study habits you learned in school, and start with these three steps.”

“First: Say goodbye to the all-nighters of cramming. In a series of experiments, students listened to stories and then took a test of how much information they remembered an hour later. Recall spiked by 10 to 30 percent if they had been randomly assigned to sit and do nothing in a dark, quiet room for a few minutes right after hearing the story. Your mind needs rest and space to consolidate and store information. That’s especially true for people who have memory difficulties. When the same experiment was done with patients who had suffered strokes and other neurological injuries, resting improved their recall to 79 percent from 7 percent.”

“Second: Don’t bother with rereading or highlighting. Research reveals that they don’t help much; they’re too passive. Instead, try something active: quiz yourself. Evidence shows that practice tests lead to better retention than any other technique. When you retrieve knowledge from your mind over and over again, you know where to find it the next time, and you quickly discover where the gaps in your memory are.”

“Third: Tell someone. In a recent experiment, people learned about sound waves and the Doppler effect. (You know, the phenomenon that causes the siren on a police car to be high-pitched as it approaches you and drop as it passes you). At the end of studying, the participants were randomly assigned to deliver a lesson on the material with or without notes. A week later, they came back and had to take a surprise test on their recall. The ones who had taught the lesson without notes did better.”

Click the image to read more.

Improving Your Memory
 

Fight Medicare Fraud and Protect Your Identity

Great Medicare resources!!

Medicare offers numerous tips through its Web site.  And it offers good advice to help you fight Medicare fraud and protect your identity.

In a recent E-mail, Medicare offered three specific tips:

    1. Protect your identity. “Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Guard your Medicare Number and card, and keep your Social Security Number safe.”
    2. Help fight Medicare fraud. “Use your MyMedicare account to stay on top of your claims. If you find errors or fraud, report it to us. Don’t have a MyMedicare account yet? Sign up for free at MyMedicare.gov today.”
    3. Know your rights. “You have certain rights and protections designed to make sure you get the health care services the law says you can get.”

Click the Medicare logo to learn more about its resources.