It seems fitting that Healthy Aging Month and World Alzheimer’s Month share September for their awareness campaigns. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and no guaranteed way to avoid it, scientists have begun endorsing a healthy lifestyle as a possible way to at least delay Alzheimer’s symptoms for one in three people who develop the disease. Therefore it seems that a dedication to healthy aging can not only be a good idea in general, it may be helpful in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease.
This year, Alzheimer’s Disease International is focusing on helping people reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that often accompanies the disease.
While the full month of September is dedicated to global Alzheimer’s awareness, September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. On this day, Alzheimer's associations around the world will provide information, Memory Walks, media appearances and in some places free memory screenings.
Since the theme for World Alzheimer's Month 2014 is ‘Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?', with the focus on healthy lifestyles, that plays right in to September as Healthy Aging Month.
In honor of this month, Consumer Reports National Research Center has been publicizing the results of a nationally representative sample of 2,066 Americans 50 years old and older that was conducted last December.
According to this survey, the best strategies for successful aging fall under these headings:
- Managing Your Health (Finding a great Primary Care Physician, having well-managed medications and health-insurance 'savvy')
- Keeping Your Body Strong (Getting a physical therapy check-up, doing 150 minutes of cardio each week and adding some strength training, keeping your physical balance and staying flexible)
- Staying Mentally Sharp (Remaining physically fit, staying socially engaged and learning something new)
- Living Independently (Creating ground floor sleeping, modifying bathrooms and other aspects of your home)
- Moving to an Easier Home (Smaller homes, or where a car is not required to co-housing options, retirement communities and assisted living)
Nearly any doctor will advise us to develop and stay with a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, diverse mental and social challenges and appropriate exercise. Since both healthy aging in general and in some cases delaying Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are both worth a little extra dedication to our health, why not take these two September awareness challenges seriously and examine your own lifestyle?
Can your diet stand a little – or a lot – of tweaking? Are you letting your mind grow stale by living a non-challenging life with TV being your primary activity outside of a job that has now become repetitive? Is your main exercise that of punching buttons on the remote control?
Surely there can be improvements for the sake of your health. Change doesn’t have to happen all at once, nor does it have to be dramatic. But common sense, plus an attitude of adventure, can take you a long way toward better health as you age. It may even help you delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s should that disease be in your future.
Don't smoke. Eat your vegetables. Work on maintaining a healthy weight. Take the steps rather than the elevator at work. Go for a brisk walk in the evening. Drive a different route to work every day. Play some challenging brain games. Get on track to a happier, healthier future by taking these and other small steps toward maintaining or improving your health. The quality of the rest of your life may depend on it.
Consumer Reports. (2014, May) Healthy aging into your 80s and beyond:5 keys to a long, healthful life. Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/06/healthy-aging-into-your-80s-and-beyond/index.htm
September is Healthy Aging Month. Retrieved from http://blog.mass.gov/blog/health/september-is-healthy-aging-month/
Published On: September 04, 2014