November is Long Term Care Awareness Month as well as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Many factors contribute to causing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The video below is a brief interview with Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, pioneers in the area of dementia. They are renowned researchers that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I’ve learned a great deal from their work and have great respect for their research.
In this 5 minute video, the Sherzais talk about the differences between good and bad stress. Bad stress can promote Alzheimer’s. It is caused by things by things like demanding, “no boundary” jobs that require us to stay constantly on call and “plugged in”. Other contributors to bad stress include toxic workplaces, financial stress and the push/pull between work and family obligations.
Alzheimer’s Awareness: Good Stress
There is also good stress that occurs when you stretch yourself by learning something new and challenging. Good stress can occur from things like a stimulating profession, a good crossword puzzle, taking piano lessons and being engaged with life, in general.
They explain how this good stress allows the brain to grow and build more connections. Depending on the activity, the brain could grow as many as 30,000 connections! That’s an invaluable benefit.
Here are a few tips Drs. Sherzai offer to manage stress:
- Define Your Stress. Learn the difference between your positive and negative stress factors. And be specific! This means when you see a situation that you don’t like, identify exactly what part you don’t like. As a result, you’ll be able to zoom in on the negative and determine what you can do to resolve the challenge.
- One Thing At a Time. Train your brain to focus on one specific item at a time. Meditation is an excellent way to build this focus.
- Feed Your Brain. Your brain needs information to stay vital and healthy. Without new information, those brain connections begin to collapse. Play a musical instrument. Try creative writing. Take on a leadership role.
Here’s another video where they debunk the Top 5 Myths of Alzheimer’s Disease:
There are other factors that affect the onset of dementia, such as getting sufficient rest, exercise, and eating a mostly or all plant-based diet. Both of the Sherzais are vegans.
Drs. Sherzai are Co-Directors of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University. They are published authors, speak widely.
Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients
While researchers are working hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, they still have a long road ahead. For now, it is important that we do our own research when it comes to the future care of our loved ones or ourselves.
A good long term care insurance (LTCi) policy can provide a significant piece of this puzzle, including peace of mind and financial relief for medical costs. Click here to receive a free, no-obligation quote for your own LTCi coverage.