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  • MindMate Staff

Are You Preparing for Dementia? Maybe You Should Be!

Alanna Shaikh’s TED-talk is an especially interesting one. Not only, because it deals with dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s, but also because it’s very personal and honest.

Alanna hits the nail on the head right from the start. She explains how most people assume that dementia doesn’t need to concern them, because it won’t happen to them. She is right, because before I started to educate myself about dementia I said the same. Then I stumbled across the topic of young onset dementia,  She suggests that the second reaction to it might be prevention. Working towards preventing dementia by training the brain, the body and eating healthy is definitely something everyone should care about. Still, besides working out and keeping the brain as active as possible, she follows another strategy.

She is actually preparing for when she will get Alzheimer’s because she believes that “if the monster wants you, the monster's gonna get you“. Her dad had to live with Alzheimer’s for a decade and although she hopes for a cure one day, she focusses on three things for preparation.  And this is where it gets interesting for me. Because, how do you prepare for something like that? I heard of people who write diaries that should help them to remember or record music playlists that aim to bring back their memories. These are some great approaches, but what if you are already in a stage where this doesn’t help? What if not only your brain, but also your body is starting to stop doing what it used to? In this case, Alanna’s strategy makes so much sense.

First, she decided to change her hobbies and learn to do things that are more hands-on. If you are a writer and love to read books as a hobby, these skills might be one of the first you lose if you’re unlucky. Having a hobby that is hands-on could help you to preserve some activities that mean fun to you even if you brain doesn’t work like before.Y

Second, she is trying to build her physical strength by doing Yoga and Tai Chi. This way she wants to ensure to be able to move as long as possible with a strengthened balance.

The last point of preparation according to her is to become a better person.  I have to quote her on this specific thing because I think how she put it into words is perfect:

I need a heart so pure that if it's stripped bare by dementia, it will survive.  - Alanna Shaikh

Her talk gave me to think and I believe that even if we undoubtedly need to keep training our minds and bodies to prevent being at risk, thinking about what it means if it happens is a good thing.  Inspired by Alanna Shaikh’s words I decided to discover one hands-on hobby for me as well. (Maybe drawing or baking? :-)) I already do some yoga, so I will stick to that. And being a better person? Shouldn’t we all try to be?  Trust me, and watch her talk! It will be 6,5 minutes well spend! Are you preparing for this scenario? If so, how do you do it? What do you think about Alanna’s talk? Let us know in the comment section belo


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