By Suzanne Marlatt Stewart
I have found that a topic of anxiety for seniors is their health. One main worry is” losing their mind”. People have shared with me that the fear of dementia as they age is a real concern.
I am sure we all are experiencing to some degree forgetting something temporarily, losing something or not remembering someone’s name.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN chief medical correspondent and author of several books including KEEP SHARPE Building a Better Brain at Any Age suggests making lifestyle changes. Whatever your age, it’s not too late to start. In his book he documents that the single most important thing we can do to enhance our brain’s function is to exercise. Being inactive is a significant risk factor. Movement helps the brain in reducing inflammation and stimulates growth factors of our neural cells. Some type of aerobic exercise is best.
Regarding diet, Dr. Gupta refers to Martha Clare Morris’s work as an epidemiologist and founding member of the Global Council on Brain Heath. She recommends the Mediterranean diet…vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry and olive oil.
Some dietary changes Dr. Gupta also recommends are…
Avoid lots of refined sugar
Hydrate often, water is the best
Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet…examples avocados and salmon
Reduce portions and consider intermittent fasting
Plan ahead, keep healthy snacks handy rather than “junk” food
For me, being a “people person” my family and friends are a very important part of my life. I zeroed in on this statement by Dr. Gupta “Finding purpose in life with people of different generations or personal learning is good for the brain. Research suggests that people with a sense of purpose have reduced risk of suffering the deleterious effects of dementia.”
My experience has been that we need a reason to get out of bed each morning and enjoy spending time with others. Women seem to interact with other women better than men do with other men. It seems to be a common complaint with women that their husbands are not social. Suggestion…consider giving your spouse Dr. Sanjay’s book to read. Having close relationships with others is crucial for a happy, healthy life, and may contribute to living longer.
“The brain can be continuously and consistently enriched throughout our life no matter what our age or access to resources. If you change your lifestyle, even a little…your brain – no, your whole body – will love it.” Great advice Dr. Sanjay.
“Find your purpose. Enjoy life with passion. Stay connected to others.” That’s my motto.
Rev. Suzanne is an independent writer and speaker, living in SaddleBrooke. Her focus is “inclusive.” She was ordained non-denominational in 1988, representing all faiths. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.