Alzheimer's disease bites the big one. Luckily, I have had no known incidents of Alzheimer's disease (and very little dementia) in my family. I remember great aunts and uncles full of life, intelligence and independence. I am proud of them. I hope one day to be like them. Though genetics is apparently not a big factor.
I am told that physical activities that involve random decisions (like freeform dancing) may help. There are certain foods that may be preventitive, such as a Mediterranean diet. NSAIDs may reduce the risk. Exercise is beneficial - both physical and intellectual and social interactions. Use it or lose it, my grandmother used to say.
As a writer and artist, I rely on my creative brain, as an optometrist I rely on the logical part of my brain. I revel in my brain. I love to use my brain. I love to feed my brain with words and experiences. I love learning new things. I love to test my brain with writing exercises, playing games, creating things. I love creating things. My husband often says I get grumpy if I have not created something for a while and tells me to go write something or make something.
What would I do if I lost my cognitive functions? I have a suspicion I would be one of those grumpy old women that know they are losing it. I find this one of the scariest things that could happen to me. I have great respect for those who have to live with it, for family that have to deal with it and for carers that help those who suffer from it.
On Sunday, we attended the wake for my husband's grandmother. I met her 17 years ago. She welcomed me into the family and we clicked straight away. She was such a wonderful lady. I wish I had got to know her better before she started forgetting. She was a wonderful woman with a wicked sense of humour. She was independent until she was stricken with Alzheimer's disease. She was eighty. She died on her eighty-seventh birthday.
RIP Alma . You will be missed.