What I Found Out About Lowering One’s Chances Of Having Alzheimer's
My mother has this disease and I will fight like hell not to!
I’ve never been one to exercise. That sounds terrible, I know. But, I was underweight most of my life — probably until age 45. I wore size zero as a high schooler and while in college. As a NICU nurse, my scrubs just hung on me. I was as “skinny as a rail” as the saying goes. This revelation might make you hate me, although it shouldn’t. Or, it makes you think I don’t know how it is to worry about your weight but truly it was very hard to be extremely thin. I had to hunt for clothes (it was never fun) and was lucky my grandma made most of them for me and my sister. And, I was teased (today, this would be called bullied) about my size. But it was my body type and I dealt with it mostly by shedding a few tears while I was growing up.
Being thin did have one consequence, I didn’t “need” to exercise. I’ve never really enjoyed exercise. Between not having to exercise to keep my weight in check and not enjoying it, I never got into an exercise routine. Nothing ever stuck for long. I did pilates and tried aerobics when my boys were young. I recognize that now as more of an effort to just get out of the house.
But now I have the motivation to move daily! My mom has Alzheimer’s dementia. She’s 85 and has very poor memory, confusing timelines, and even who people are before she snaps back into herself. The story with her is probably very similar to the story anyone with a loved one with Alzheimer's could tell you. It’s sad. She was a smart, funny, vibrant, and intelligent woman. And sometimes when I am with her now, I have to look hard to see those pieces of who she was.
This disease, Alzheimer's disease, is dreadful. It’s like you are living but not fully there. As a person who highly values intellectual, organization, timeliness, and recall, it scares the sh_t out of me!
I began to wonder if there was any way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. While I do have two nursing degrees, I’ve never worked with adults. So my working knowledge was slim and dated — from the 1980s. I looked into it online. Come to find out there are ways to lower one’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.