By Meghann Giarraputo of Gardant Management Solutions
During the month of June, we joined the Alzheimer’s Association in recognizing Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month across the assisted living and memory case communities Gardant manages. It was an opportunity for people around the world to share information about the brain, Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementias. Having closed the month of June, we wanted to do our part and share some information about the brain and dementia with you.
- Your brain, an approximately 3 pound organ, is incredibly powerful. Did you know that a [healthy] brain’s storage capacity is considered virtually unlimited and that your brain can generate power equivalent to that needed to power a light bulb (23 watts) (Northwestern Medicine)? Did you know that information travels to and from our brain through our nerve cells as fast as 268 miles per hour (Stanford)? The brain interprets the world around us by processing information through our senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing). Additionally, our brain controls an abundance of essential aspects of our being such as our thoughts, emotions, speech, coordination, balance, breathing, heart rate, body temperature, vision, etc. Without a brain, life cannot exist. Our brain allows us to intimately connect with, understand, and respond to our world.
- The human brain is capable of learning new skills and/or abilities throughout one’s life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), normal brain aging may equate to slower processing speeds and more difficulty with multitasking; however, routine memory, skills, and knowledge remain stable and may even improve with age. On the contrary, memory loss that interferes with your daily life is not part of the normal aging process. If you notice any changes in memory or function, it is important to see a healthcare provider, such as your primary care physician, as soon as possible for further evaluation and to determine the root cause of the change.
- While there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, there is strong evidence that individuals can reduce risk by engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining good heart health amongst other actions (Alzheimer’s Association). To reduce your risk of cognitive decline, maintain your overall health, and improve your wellbeing, the Alzheimer’s Association encourages the following lifestyle habits in the article 10 Ways to Love Your Brain: regular exercise, cognitive stimulation (education and stimulating activities), smoking cessation, maintaining heart health (maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure), preventing brain injury (wearing a helmet, seatbelt, proactive measures to prevent falls), committing to a balanced diet, sleep schedules, caring for your mental health.
At Gardant managed memory care communities, we are committed to ongoing education for all. If there is a topic that you or a loved one are particularly interested in learning more about, please let us know. We hope that you found this month’s blog helpful and that it offered you something to wrap your mind around.