Removing the Stigma of Memory Loss

It doesn’t feel good at any age to forget someone’s name or an address, but it feels worse when we’re older because of the fear and stigma attached to memory loss. Most people feel embarrassed about memory lapses, and try to cover them up. This once made sense because there was nothing could that be done to help, but we now know how to keep the brain functioning well and what can help bring cognition back into focus. It’s time to release the stigma around memory loss so people seek help, precisely when it can be most effective.

Research over the past 7 years shows that the brain is elastic, able to shrink and grow with the proper “nutrients” that improve diet, exercise, sleep, and reduce stress. In fact, ongoing studies demonstrate that lifestyle choices can help prevent and delay cognitive decline and often restore normal brain function. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that by 2050, 13.8 million people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s1, and millions more with other types of dementia. Think of how many of those cases could be avoided if people took steps NOW to ensure the health of their brains like they do other parts of their bodies.

We are fortunate to have many tools at our disposal to help us stay cognitively alert. Apps remind us to get up and move if we are sitting for too long, or to start winding down for bed at night. YouTube videos on yoga, meditation or a workout routine are useful too. When we cannot manage to stay cognitively and physically healthy on our own, however, we could likely benefit from more support.

Sharp Again Naturally’s Small Group program offers a unique opportunity for those concerned about their cognition to take a more active role in enhancing their brain health and overall well-being. Participants work with a professional health coach in a secure, supportive and confidential online setting to bridge the gap between education and implementation, helping each participant to take what they have learned and put it into practice in their daily life. For more information, email us at sharperminds@sharpagain.org.

Memory loss is something that cannot be wished away. The longer it goes untreated, the harder it may be for an individual to get their life back. If you are feeling more forgetful, or noticing “blips” in your memory that weren’t there before, please know you are not alone—it’s happening to millions of people around the world. Know that there is now hope and the possibility for positive outcomes around memory loss. Acknowledging that people of all ages and lifestyles can experience memory loss brings us one step closer to removing the stigma associated with it, and one step closer to ending Alzheimer’s.

 

1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23390181/

 

 

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