Worldwide, around 55 million people suffer from dementia. This number is expected to rise to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050. Women make up more than two-thirds of that statistic, which makes sense since estrogen depletion and the stress of caregiving (which is overwhelmingly provided by women) greatly increases the likelihood of developing dementia. I had seen this in my mother who, after years of caring for my dad, first hid, then denied her own memory problems. When a sudden hospital stay revealed the truth of the situation, it was too late for her to be able to make the lifestyle changes that, as a health coach, I knew might have helped her.
After seeing first-hand how easy it was to try and wish away a problem you didn’t want to see, why was I so much in denial when I started to notice my own memory problems? I was, my doctor told me, an extremely healthy 65+ woman with no chronic health conditions. And yet there I was, constantly forgetting my keys and cell phone. Opening the microwave instead of the refrigerator. Forgetting people’s names and having more trouble retaining information.
How could this be?
It’s frightening to think about the possibility of losing one’s memory. It’s easier to tell yourself any–or all–of the following: the problem will go away by itself; you must be imagining things; you’re just getting older and there’s nothing to be done. I know because I did (most of) that. What I couldn’t do was tell myself that there was nothing I could do about it. As a health coach specializing in brain health, I knew better.
So, I did the hard thing. I admitted to myself that I was having enough of a memory issue to notice it. And although it wasn’t a problem yet, I didn’t want it to become one. I started to do what I knew to do. I took a good look at where I could make changes in my lifestyle. Things that had been OK to do (or not do) twenty years ago, and which had become habitual, needed to change in order to better care for myself today. Little by little, I began noticing the difference. Today, I am (for the most part) maintaining these ‘new habits’. My brain and body are thanking me.
If you are reading this article, I know something about you. Whether you admit it or not, you are concerned about your cognition. The good news is that you have come to the right place. If you just want the facts, Sharp Again’s free webinars and website are loaded with information that can help you understand more about keeping your brain healthy. If you’re ready to step across the threshold and put that information into action, take a look at our Group Coaching Programs focused on prevention and early intervention. Either way, congratulations on taking action to keep your brain sharp!
Myra Oney is one of the leaders and coordinators of Sharp Again’s Group Coaching Program. An Integrative Nutrition Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach certified by the American Association for Drugless Practitioners, she is also a Reiki Master Teacher certified by the International Association for Reiki Professionals.
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