I spent Halloween in DC last week. I was on a business trip to see clients and affiliate trainers in the area. I got to visit with some friends, and my beau ran his fith Marine Corps Marathon. (He did great, by the way!)
We had just gone through hurricane Sandy, a historic storm that completely wrecked parts of the east coast. Aside from that I was tired from running around to appointments all day. I figured a walk through Georgetown was good enough for our Halloween that night.
The scariest thing we saw on the trip wasn’t during Halloween, and it wasn’t a costume. It was something much more serious.
On the morning we left SFO airport for DC I was walking towards a ticket counter and noticed an elderly woman sitting on a baggage scale. Something about her looked amiss.
After printing boarding passes and weighing bags I turned to find my guy was talking to her. She had approached him and asked to use his cell phone. She thought hers was stolen but she couldn’t remember the number of the person she wanted to reach.
We asked if she was traveling with someone and she gave us a blank stare. We asked if she was supposed to be on a flight to somewhere. She couldn’t answer that either. She looked confused and scared. After a little more conversation, it became obvious that she had Alzheimers’. We could only do so much as we had a plane to catch.
Two attendants came by to help out. I suggested they try to find her relatives on the loudspeaker. I also suggested they call the police to bring her home if they couldn’t find her family.
People who struggle with Alzheimers’ often forget where they are and who they’re with. They forget the names of their children, their friends, and their spouse. They’ll also wander out and get lost, not remembering where they live or what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s a very scary thing. I sent a out loving prayer for the lady as we left her in the hands of the attendants.
Scary things can happen to us as we get older. But we are continually finding ways to prevent those things, or make them more manageable should they occur.
We used to think that Alzheimers’ was an affliction that couldn’t be prevented. Fortunately we’ve learned there are simple things we can do to prevent it – even if we have the genes for it. The great thing is, you don’t have to be rich, lucky or well-connected to have access to some of the best prevention we know of.
Unfortunately, this knowledge came too late for the poor woman at the airport to benefit from it. She couldn’t know there were things she could do to prolong the life of her brain. But, everyone that’s alive and fully functioning today can and should take advantage of this prevention.
Because none of us want to find ourselves roaming the streets or at an airport, not knowing where we are or why we’re there. None of us want our loved ones to have to take care of us as if we were a child. And we don’t want to be in a situation where we don’t remember who our loved ones are or what they mean to us, even though we’ve known them all of our life.
The good news is that steps to a good chance at prevention are simple – and free.
They are the following:
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and lots of them – these natural antioxidants protect the blood vessels and brain
- Ingest minimal saturated fat and get plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fats in your diet- that keeps blood vessels free and clear of blockage
- Exercise – both strength and cardiovascular activity bring blood and oxygen to your brain
- Challenge your mind – you can make your brain smarter and quicker with mental exercise just like you can build your body with physical exercise
- Learn to meditate – it builds brain tissue
No doubt, you’ve heard these recommendations before even if it was for some other reason. It turns out healthy habits promote so many favorable outcomes for your life. The benefits happen now, and they continue into the future.
Aging can be scary. The sooner you start healthy habits the easier they are to maintain. The longer you hold onto these habits the better equipped you are to fight off the scary stuff, and the more likely you’ll win the fight.