Hannah Davies's look at it my way column: On caring for a loved-one with dementia
Dementia is considered quite a new condition and relatively
little is known about it. The researchers are squirreling away in laboratories
trying to find causes and cures and are looking for funding to make the next
big advance. Meanwhile the media is awash with suggestions for foods to try or
possible lifestyle changes which are yet unproven.
In my mind is the question: Do I take the genetic test to
find out if I'm one of the 1% with the inherited Alzheimer's gene?
Before I decide about the test I'm going to ensure I'm
following the sensible advice. Daily physical exercise to keep the blood
pumping to the brain seems like a sensible thing to do and has a whole range of
general health benefits. Frequent mental stimulation such as crosswords, number
puzzles, learning a new skill also seems a useful way to exercise the brain and
to maintain the neural networks.
There is a school of thought that some Indian communities
have lower incidences of dementia possibly due to their diet being rich in turmeric.
I love full-flavoured food so a diet rich in spices is no hardship. Then
there's the usual plethora of advice for eating fruit and vegetables and
avoiding high cholesterol foods.
So until the scientists can prove their creative solutions
to this disease I'll be eating spiced fresh food, keeping fit and learning new
things. It's not unpleasant to live like this but I'm willing the advance in
science will come sooner rather than later.
If you would
like to share your experiences of caring email: Write-to-Hannah@hotmail.co.uk
information about the services and support available from the Alzheimer's
Society visit www.alzheimers.org.uk or call 0300 2221122