Change Your Lifestyle Today and Prevent Dementia Tomorrow!

Hello, hello, and welcome to another Healthy Tip on Tuesday. Today’s tip has to do with Dementia as this is Dementia Awareness Month. It will however be a quick post as it is late and I didn’t prepare to be out all day. Anyway, the video below while kind of boring, explains why changing your lifestyle today can prevent Dementia tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will share another gift idea for people with Dementia. Be sure and check out the other gift ideas in the archives.

Read the FINGER study here, mentioned in the video.

To work with me as your Health Coach, to help make lifestyle changes, use the contact form after the video to send me an email with your interest.

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Gift Idea #3 For People With Dementia!

Hola! That means hello in Spanish. I am learning Spanish! I actually remember quite a bit from years ago when I was doing it with my son for Middle School Spanish. I do know some basic words but really can not put a sentence together. That really has nothing to do with the gift idea for today, but it is an update to the topic of Dementia prevention which is to learn a new language.

While it is true that a lot of Dementia is related to memory issues, but there are also socialization issues as well. Today’s gift idea is thinking games, especially games that can be played in a group with family or friends. Did you know from my research that the #1 game that was shown to help people with Dementia was Tetris? Do you remember Tetris? I used to play it on the Nintendo 64 as a teenager. I just downloaded it from the Google Play store for free. If your loved one has a smartphone help them to download it and play away. I am sure they probably have it in a plug-and-play version for the TV or is available on the laptop.

These ideas are from this article.

  1. Card games. If your loved one is like my loved one they probably played card games a lot when they were younger. If they have mild cognitive decline ask them which ones they loved to play. Pinochle was a big one for my loved one. Then learn how to play it and set up a game. You can play easier card games like War, Go Fish, and Memory. Memory can be very fun if you attach pictures of loved ones, or pets to the cards. Or, old magazine ads I think would be super fun. Have a discussion about those ads, events, or loved ones.
  2. Bingo. Where I work the ladies used to love to play Bingo. It has kind of fallen out of favor recently but every afternoon they used to sit down to play Bingo. They really only liked it though if there was a snack for a prize, lol. If you are playing in a group of Dementia residents be sure and have someone available to assist those that need it.
  3. Visual Games. This is similar to the Memory cards I mentioned above.
  4. Word Puzzles. This does not mean Soduko or crossword puzzles, though those are amazing if your loved one can still do them. Word search puzzles, hidden object puzzles are awesome! Way down at the bottom of that link I shared is a topic about Memory Cafe’s. Which sounds awesome, btw. There are none near me, but my loved one is in a facility where activities are done daily. Anyway on that website is a free game called Memory Joggers. It is perfect as a word puzzle game.
  5. Video Games. I have already talked about Tetris, but what about other video games. They can help with hand eye coordination, as well as memory.

Some games not mentioned are games about music from their generation. Board games like Chutes and Ladders, Dominoes, Uno, Operation, and possibly others. I found this game that was precisely designed for people with Dementia.

Just remember to be Mindful of their Dementia. You don’t want anything too complicated, or that goes too fast. A game that maybe they played before Dementia might be easier as they may remember the rules and how to play. My loved one absolutely loved Pac-Man, while she couldn’t play it on a smartphone she could play the plug-and-play version of the game.

Search the archives and see the other two gift ideas! Ask me about my Health Coaching and how it can help meet your health goals.

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Snowman Puzzle

This Modifiable Dementia Risk Factor May Shock You!

Hello, and welcome to December! November just whizzed right by. If you stop by often then you know November was Dementia awareness month and I have extended it into December. I am not sure that I will still get all of the information covered, but it gives me something to talk about for next year, lol.

If you remember, the first modifiable risk factor was education, especially in early life. Today, I am going to discuss hearing loss and how it is connected to Dementia.

When I first read the study I was shocked to learn that hearing loss is a risk factor for Dementia, especially since I live in the USA and hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or even most private insurance. Plus, they are very expensive! This seems like such an easy issue to fix in some regards by just making hearing aids more accessible to people. I mean the risk is huge! We can do better than this America! The video below is an Audiologist talking about hearing loss and the risk to Dementia.

Before I talk about diagnosing and treating hearing loss, I want to talk about why hearing loss is a risk factor for Dementia. You can read the article here, but to sum it up hearing loss may lead to faster brain atrophy, can lead to isolation, depression, and decreased communication skills. Plus, loss of hearing, believe it or not, can affect balance when you walk, which can affect safety and lead to falls.

What are signs that you may have hearing loss?

  1. The most obvious would be that you turn TV, and radio up to very high levels.
  2. You might say huh a lot when talking to others. You might not understand what others are saying in a conversation.
  3. Twisting your head or body to hear better.
  4. You miss phone calls, knocks at the door, doorbells, or even alarms going off.
  5. You feel exhausted in group conversations due to straining to hear what is being said.

How do you have your hearing tested?

  1. If you are over 18 a hearing test every 3 to 5 years is recommended, unless you have existing hearing loss already. An Audiologist can test your hearing and give you advise.
  2. There are actual hearing self tests you can do on your own via phone apps. I just put one on my phone. I don’t think I have hearing loss, matter of fact mine is pretty acute, but I would like to test my husband as well.
  3. Hearing loss could be as simple as wax build up in the ear. That is why your doctor looks in there, or one of the reasons.
  4. The whisper test, and tuning forks are other ways that hearing can be tested.

How is hearing loss treated?

  1. The most common way that people think of treating hearing loss is with a hearing aid. As I have already discussed most people don’t have access or funds to purchase a hearing aid. This website has the most comprehensive information on programs to help people afford a hearing aid. Please check it out, if you or a loved one has hearing loss.
  2. Remove ear wax blockage. That one just makes sense. Just make sure you have a trained professional do it.
  3. There are some types of hearing loss that can be fixed by inserting tubes into the ears, or other procedures, to improve hearing.
  4. Cochlear implants which may actually be covered by Medicare or Medicaid are the newest option for hearing loss. I will be talking a lot more about Medicare in the near future.

The bottom line is to please have a hearing test done at least every 3 years to catch hearing loss early. I can not recall exactly when I had one done, but it wasn’t too awful long ago.

Do you have Health Goals you would like to meet? Why not use a Health Coach to help you get there? Use the communication form at the end of this post to send me a message about what goal you would like to meet. Check out my Walking Buddy coaching option.

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Gift Idea #2 For People With Dementia: Companionship

Welcome to Tuesday! Yesterday, I shared to life-like Joy dog as gift idea #1. If your loved one is still able to care properly for a real pet they make great companions. No affiliate links.

Obviously, they would need to remember to feed, water, and potty the pet at the very least. A way for the pet to get exercise would also be important, plus vet services. Dogs are awesome, I love them! There are tons that are waiting for homes in shelters and rescues all across this country. But, sometimes dogs can jump and or trip an older person. There is also the risk that the dog could get out and not come back. Being sure the dog is chipped, and is wearing proper ID tags will help the dog return home when found. Getting the dog basic dog training would be a great gift idea as well. Cats are another option if your loved one can’t handle a dog.

If your loved one can not take care of a pet anymore, or maybe is in Assisted Living, there are lots of ways to provide them companionship. Hopefully, they are taking advantage of the community outings and activities. Isolation and socialization issues can lead to depression which can make Dementia worse. Visiting them as often as you can, in person, is a wonderful gift for someone with Dementia. Maybe they can have friends visit too. Sometimes these visits may seem to cause agitation after the visit is over, but usually, it is short-lived and they resume their normal daily activities. FB Live and or Messenger are great ways to use video so your loved one can see and hear you. Zoom, Skype, and other video platforms can also be used. Facetime, for iPhones and so many others, is out there now. If your loved one can still handle technology devices Amazon offers an Echo item that you can do video calls on plus many other great features. Obviously, any of these technology gifts may need assistance to use, so be mindful of that when you purchase them as a gift. You don’t want it to frustrate them or cause them to be angry.

For adults that still live at home all of the same ideas still apply. Plus, there are community programs your loved one can sign up for. Do a search for Elder Day Cares or community groups for elders in your area. Help them if they need it to find these programs, and hopefully, they will allow you to assist them. Not all people who suffer from Dementia are willing to accept help, unfortunately.

Do you have any thoughts? Leave them in the comments.

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Types of Dementia

Hello, and welcome to another Wellness Wednesday topic. I am updating old posts, still, and that is quite time-consuming. I am also learning the art of grant writing. That is very interesting. Why do I mention these things? Well, it is Dementia awareness month and keeping your mind learning new things is a great way to help prevent Dementia. But, more about that in future posts.

Today, I want to discuss the types of Dementia. Dementia is a complicated term. If you watched the video from yesterday, then you know that everyone experiences Dementia in different ways. I can say that is very true. I have been working with Dementia residents for over 3 years, and they are all very different. How families, respond to their loved one having Dementia is also unique to each and every family.

There is a short video below that talks about the most common types of Dementia, but there are other types as well. If you would like to read more about the other types click here. For the purposes of this blog, I will discuss the more common types, prevention, and treatment. Plus, support for caregivers of those suffering from Dementia.

But, for today let’s learn about the different types of the more common forms of Dementia.

The video is short and worth the watch. There are a couple of terms in the video that I would like to define for you. Aphasia and Apraxia. These are medical terms that are speech-related. You can read more about these with explanations of each.

Be sure and follow this blog so you don’t miss a post on this interesting topic, or you can follow my Pinterest board where all of my Health Buddy Melissa pins are saved.

Increasing your activity level is another great way to help prevent Dementia. Learn about my Walking Buddy Plan. Subscribers to my Mailchimp newsletter can get 20% off my Walking Buddy Plan.

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eat for your master control center!

In case you were wondering the Master Control Center is you brain. The brain controls all functions of the body. It is obviously the most vital organ of the body and keeping it healthy is vitally important. Food plays a big role in Brain Health. I think it is often overlooked as food is overlooked in the treatment of most disease. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are vitally important to Brain Health. But, today I will focus on Diet. There are 3 diets that have been shown to help improve Brain Health, and the Mind Diet has been shown to decrease the chance of getting Alzheimer’s by up to 35%

I did a post on the MIND Diet, so you can click to read. I also did a post on the DASH Diet. You can also click to read. Along with those check out my post on Trans Fats. While Trans Fats have been banned in the USA apparently they can still sneak it in, so be sure and read labels. Watch for hydrogenated oils, refined oils, or partially hydrogenated. Those may indicate there are Trans Fats in a food source. Canola Oil is a highly refined oil that raises some red flags for Brain Health, but a lot of Kidney recipes include them. I tend to stick to Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I work with Dementia/Alzheimer’s residents, and I also have a family history. It is a devastating disease and avoiding it is prudent, if possible.

Cholesterol is another hot topic about Brain Health. You can read more about that here.

But, with all of that said, the Mediterranean Diet takes the #1 spot for Brain Health, and apparently has for some years. The 3 different diets I mentioned are all just a tiny bit different, but one thing they focus on is reducing the consumption of animal products, and eating whole foods rather than convenient, or pre-packaged foods that sit on a shelf for very long periods of time. Red meat, especially, should be limited to maybe once a week, or even just a couple of times a month. You may ask why? It is the saturated fats found in these meats that make them unsavory for Brain Health. Pork products can also be considered a red meat depending on the type and fat content. Now, I actually quite like pork, I could care less about beef except once in a while I want it, but pork I like. I try to stick to the leaner cuts with less than 3 grams of total fat per serving. These are not always easy to find, especially when you live in rural areas like me. They also tend to be more expensive, which always baffles me. Why are healthier food choices more expensive than garbage food? It’s a conundrum, I know.

I do not eat fish, except Tuna, and that is only on occasion. I am trying to add more, but I just don’t care for it. So, I have started taking Fish Oil capsules. I only take 2 a day, much less than most people take, but they can cause me bloating and gas, and well yeah who wants that. I am getting used to beans and my low fat food challenge showed me that I can quite easily eat more Vegetarian type dishes for one meal, and then have chicken at dinner. I limit my protein intake due to Kidney Disease, so I don’t get too much anyhow.

On the Fish Oil note I have noticed a nice decline in my blood pressure since I started taking them. Since I have not changed anything else I am thinking the Fish Oil is decreasing inflammation in body helping to decrease my blood pressure. It had been creeping up for a bit now and had me quite concerned. I will let you know if the trend continues.

Anyhow, with all of that said there are several videos below on the Mediterranean Diet. Note that it is not just a diet, but a lifestyle, where regular exercise is part of the diet. I encourage you to watch them and start making small changes today. You will notice as you go it will become easier to start removing some of the non-healthy food items from your diet. A note about nuts, seeds, and beans, they are higher in phosphorus than other foods so be sure and eat proper portion sizes and take your phosphorus binders if they are ordered for you.

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Be mindful of your brain: learn a new language

Hello, and welcome to Monday! These last 9 days in June will be dedicated to Brain Health. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are diseases of the brain. Along with general Brain Health I will focus on Dementia and Alzheimer’s as well. But for today’s post I am going to discuss Language Learning and how it can help improve Brain Health. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

Check out immunity with D3 nutristrips. No water needed.

First lets start with some basic definitions.

Dementia: a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning,

Alzheimer’s: progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility.

You will see I made that middle or old age in bold. You can get Alzheimer’s even in middle age that means 40-65! Keeping your brain healthy is vitally important!

Cognitive Decline: from the CDC, Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) is the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss. 1,2. It is a form of cognitive impairment and one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Even just learning new vocabulary can have a profound effect on Brain Health, but learning a second language is even better. You will find several videos below explaining how the brain functions when you are bilingual.

Here is a study for you to read.

For me I have dedicated, starting today, to learning Spanish. I do already know some basic words from when my kids were learning it. But, I never could speak full sentences. That is my goal! I have no idea how long it will take me, but I am almost 52, so it will be a bit. According to the video below, I think he said 30 weeks on average. So, maybe by next year this time, lol. I have downloaded an app called Mondly and it gives me daily lessons. If I find that too easy, ha ha, I have a workbook that I found on Amazon Kindle, and I have the Kindle Unlimited so I got it for free until I return it. Wish me luck!

Will you join in the brain challenge? What are you willing to commit to learn?

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Memory Care Monday: How Memories are Made

Happy Memory Care Monday! I hope everyone had an amazing weekend. I worked all weekend, and I am still deciding if these 12 hour shifts are going to work well for me.

The video below is very interesting, and explains how our brains make memories.  It is not that long, about 10 minutes, so give yourself some new knowledge, and let me know if you remember the name at the beginning of the video.

If you have a goal of improving your memory skills, and would like to work with me to reach that goal, use the contact form below to message me.

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Memory Care Learn A New Word A Week Challenge: Belie

Updated 11/01/2021

Woot woot here comes the next word in our weekly challenge.  Belie is the word to memorize for this week.  Look up the definition of this word then in your journal write the word and the definition 10 times.  Then say it out loud 10 times.  Then try to use belie in a sentence.  Go back over all the previous words to make sure you are remembering them.  Say them out loud 10 times each if you need to.  How are you doing so far?  The list is getting longer, and longer, which means it is getting harder and harder.  You can do it! Make sure you find the other words in the archives. I am currently updating all of these posts. I will be creating some free, fun printables for my newsletter followers.

Remember, if you want to learn more ways to improve your memory, and you want me to be your Health Coach, use the contact button to message me and set up a free meet and greet.  You can check out the links below for important info.  I am running a special in February for all new customers.  Get 10% off the monthly plan.  Don’t forget about my new Walking Buddy plan too.  You can message me to discuss that if you need a walking buddy.

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Memory Care Challenge: Auspicious

Updated 11/22/2021: I am continuing to edit the older posts for this topic before proceeding to the new words. This is a very popular topic. Thanksgiving 2021 is this week, so be sure and check out my Gratitude posts from 2020. Just search for gratitude in the search box. I will be continuing the topic of Dementia into December, with some gift ideas for people suffering from Dementia.

So, this week’s word is Auspicious.  Remember, there are 100 words altogether, so this is a lengthy challenge.  In your journal write the word, and definition 10 times each, then say the word and definition out loud 10 times each.  Go back over all the previous words, reading them out loud 10 times each.  How are you doing so far?  This is our 6th word.  You can find the other words in the archives. Some more challenging ways to help improve memory and remember your words are to write a poem using the word of the week, or all the words. Draw a picture story, write a story, create a funny song. There is a short video below to help you learn more about the word, auspicious.

Taking care of your memory is such an important issue, especially with the rise in Dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases.  If you would like to work with me on other ways to improve your memory, click the contact button and send me a message to set up a free meet and greet via email. 

One great way that has proven to help prevent Dementia and improve cognition, and memory, is exercise. Check out my Walking Buddy Plan. It is affordable and walking is a great way to exercise, especially if you do not exercise, or have not in a while. You can use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email with any questions. I am working on some free printables for my Mailchimp subscribers to help with learning and remembering the words on the list.

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