Living With Alzheimer’s – A Conversation with Pam Montana
Today’s episode is a fascinating conversation with a woman living with Alzheimer’s. Diagnosed in her early 60s, Pam Montana made it her new job to do everything she could to prevent the worst part of the disease. “Keep that happy life balance as long as possible.” Everything from exercise to nutrition to advocacy, Pam is doing everything she can to combat this disease for herself and everyone that comes after her.
If you suspect you or a loved one may be living with Alzheimer’s you’ll get a lot out of this episode. Listed below are the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and the top 10 ways to love your brain.
Some tips from Pam:
Even if you’re super functional it’s important to surround yourself with a supportive group.
Get information and help sooner rather later. (I can’t emphasize this enough myself!)
Get involved – everyone has some way to give back.
Stay positive – negativity will not help you at all. (Neither will denial.)
The Top Ten Warning Signs (thanks to the Alzheimer’s Assoc.)
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
The top ten tips for loving your brain are; (thanks to the Alzheimer’s Assoc.)
Break a Sweat: Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body.
Hit the Books: Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.
Butt Out: Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
Follow Your Heart: Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart and your brain just might follow.
Heads Up: Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike and take steps to prevent falls.
Fuel Up Right: Eat a healthy and balance diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited certain diets including Mediterranean and MIND may contribute to risk reduction.
Catch Some Zzzz’s: Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problem with memory and thinking.
Take care of your mental health: Some studies link a history of depression with increase risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.
Buddy Up: Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an after school program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.
Stump Yourself: Challenge and activate your mind, Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.