Tag Archives: depression

Friends & Family Can Reduce Dementia

 

Living in a retirement demographic area, I often hear others lamenting they are losing their memories, or their keys, have problems remembering people’s names, etc.  Dementia is jokingly mentioned, but many seniors do worry it can happen.   Our family doctor says  if you put the milk in the cupboard by mistake and then retrieve it – you’re OK; but if you think it’s OK to be in there, you may want to see your doctor.   He also states that we all have a 50-50 chance of experiencing dementia unrelated to family history or even if you have one parent who had dementia.

Recently I attended two meetings on dementia that were fact-filled.  Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect one’s cognitive abilities in ways that affect daily life.  The three subtypes of Dementia are mainly:   1. Alzheimer’s Disease ( Plaques and tangles form inside the brain causing chemical deficiencies).  It is believed that this can start to have an effect on the memory center   2. Vascular Dementia (decreased blood flow the brain and different from Alzheimer’s in that it is caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain, commonly caused by strokes).   Approximately 20% of all dementia cases are vascular, making it the second most common type. Risk factors include a history of heart attacks, strokes – especially multiple strokes, diabetes, or high blood pressure.   3. Dementia with Lewy Bodies – This is the third most common form of dementia and is caused by build-ups of a certain type of protein in the brain. These deposits are called Lewy bodies and they effect a person’s perception, behavior, and thinking. Lewy bodies are often found in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s patients, making this form of dementia harder to diagnose.

The National Institute for Aging estimates about 7 percent of people over 65 will have some form of dementia.   What can one do, if anything, to protect oneself from risk factors?  You can affect your risk by how social you are, your exercise habits and your heart and diabetes management.

Although ‘seniors’ store vast information over the years, they sometimes need extra time to remember where they stored that info in their brain.   Like an over-programmed-filled computer that ‘searches’ for info and takes extra time to find it, so do our brains.  What a relief to remember albeit slower!

Some suggestions on how to reduce your risk factor:

  • Spend at least one day a week with younger people, especially grandkids,  even if it is on Skype video or the telephone.  Stay social with friends and family.
  • Walk, hike or swim (150 minutes of moderate exercise – weekly).
  • Treat depression; talk to your doctor; depression is linked to higher dementia risk.  And sometimes depression can appear to be dementia.
  • Cook and eat heart healthy.  Strive for a diet low in saturated fat, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to go over your medications with you to see if any are at a risk for contributing to dementia or lacking in some vitamins.
  • Take some courses or classes.   It can stimulate your brain and/or socially meet new people.
  • Volunteer your time to a cause or interest you support.

Staying connected to friends and family is key and one of the most important ways to avoid dementia.  The risk of dementia is higher if one is lonely or isolated.  Millions of people 50 and older (about 1 in 5) live alone and are at risk of isolation.  The fastest growing type of household is individuals living alone.  And many of those over 50, have no one to talk to about important matters.

Try to stay socially active; If you are homebound and/or can’t get around easily, learn to text on a cell phone or video chat or even social media chat, ie, Facebook. Twitter.   In a busy world, a hello by text, especially to the teens & young adults in our lives, wlll ensure a faster return quicker than a return phone call.   If you are not up-to-date in technology in computers or cell phones, there are FREE courses to learn about them.   And a good brain exercise.

Being socially active, getting regular exercise (physically and mentally) and managing chronic conditions (diabetes, heart disease) are all plusses to reduce your chances of dementia.

 

 

 

 

 

If You Have No Expectations ~ There Will Be No Disappointments


As we look around and see results of the recession in some lives of family and friends, we can see how expectations for a good life can meet with disappointments. We can learn from what caused the recession.

“It’s a boom-bust world” says Kenneth Rogoff . When asked what caused the worst recession to grip the globe in decades, Professor Rogoff, a Harvard University economics and public policy professor, said history shows the pattern. Recessions follow booms.

Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments. We can say these circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.

What if we add all those big ones to all those little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I use to.

I have felt like that when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was ‘my time’ in the department to move up, and I ‘sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn’t. I ‘expected’ the schools to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with ‘nothing to do’ while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an “A” I worked hard for in my writing class, and instead, I got a “C.” No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I ‘expected’ them.

When you place your expectations on people, you will usually be disappointed. A good friend whom you thought would never betray you, may have told another of a secret you told him. Or your child may turn off into another path you had not envisioned for them. Or an illness in the family changed the dynamics of plans you had made. You may be having a divorce which separates the family into a lifestyle you never thought or expected would happen to you. Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people change; the unexpected happens. To us all.

I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can fill that place in my heart that needs that fulfillment. But I use to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they don’t or cannot, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.

So how do we learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for our joy or happiness? Can we unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?

Yes, I believe we can. God made all of us in His image – not everyone else’s image. We are all separate beings. He did not make a commandment saying, “Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do.” Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others ;not expecting them to do good for us.

My answer to “Have no Expectations – Have no Disappointments”, is to experience gratitude and thanksgiving. By daily acknowledging gratitude for all the gifts and blessings I have in my life, I make them more important than the things I expect or want from others.

I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son. It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected our relationship and the whole family was affected.

I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did. What? Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?

I did return and he explained that my son was perfectly happy with himself and in his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. I told him there was nothing he did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good – thank him.’

Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor’s advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.

Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.

Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man – my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement

I made a habit of gratitude instead of expectation. Don’t grumble or murmur if your mate forgets to put the mail out. Yes, you expect him to do that every morning, but he was in a hurry today. Instead, call him and ask him how his day is going and don’t mention the mail. It will get where it’s going. Expectation can become a habit and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.

Marie Coppola © Revised November 2012