For Optimal Aging
After all of the blogs I have written over the years, and all the people clamoring for a book, I thought it was time to actually write. Since this is my first book, I would love for you to be a part of the experience. If that is something that appeals to you, hit the Contact Pat button and
let me know if you want to be involved.
Below is the introductory article to give you an idea of the flavor of the book!
Title: Too Old to Change Your Brain?
Subtitle: Experience the joys of longevity with a younger, sharper brain
It was a subtle change. A missed word, a lost name, a tip-of-the-tongue, and I was freaking out. What was happening to me? The kicker was when I forgot a word in the middle of a presentation, which I had done ten times before. Sweat was rolling down my back, and many, many eyes were staring at me as I tried to talk around the word I forgot. That became a life-long memory and overshadowed every presentation I did from then on.
Lord have mercy! Was I in trouble? Was I experiencing the onset of dementia?
Not content to sit in my fear, I started researching the workings of the aging brain. It was a bittersweet discovery that my brain was aging, and I was losing my quick-minded functioning. It turned out that this was a normal aging change. I was not on the slippery slope to dementia. The moment that I discovered I could reverse these aging changes felt like a life-saving event to me.
The aging process is tough, and there are so many changes that we don’t feel like we have any control over. This undermined my confidence in all aspects of my life. I was feeling vulnerable about what was happening to me and that it would diminish everything I thought I was.
Then by chance, I was at a Conference on Aging, and I looked across the exhibition hall and saw a booth about Brain Fitness. The little that I learned that day – rocked my world! I still had control and I could change my brain! The years that followed were filled with learning all the nuances of the aging brain and how to prevent dementia. I knew that if I was worried about getting Alzheimer’s disease, many more people my age were probably worried too.
This brain journey I have been traveling has resulted in a personal pledge to teach other boomers that it is not too late to change our brains. There is no secret sauce or magic pill that can turn back the time to our younger brains. Even though all this brain change is possible and valuable, it takes understanding why and how all this happens. Then it takes determination in making the required lifestyle changes to alter the state of our brain.
Does that sound like too much work for you? Look at your alternatives – you can live longer with a high-functioning brain, with a high-functioning life, or you can succumb to a long life of resignation to the aging changes that just keep happening. Longevity is a blessing if you are healthy in your body, mind, and spirit. Should you choose to take the aging hits as they happen – you become the old person you never wanted to be.
That is where this book can be your longevity guide. It captures the why and the how of aging changes and turns them into your starting point for making critical updates in your brain. Having knowledge, strategies, and tools is necessary to change your brain and life. Knowing how to use them and committing to the process of change are your keys to successful aging. Too good to be true? Only you can decide!
I'm Writing a Book!
“Summertime and the living is easy” is a song lyric I always remember this time of year. I love summer – the long days, and the warm weather all pick up my spirits. Everything seems a little easier during the summer months. This is sort of ironic because I do far more work in the summer than I do in the winter. But I enjoy that too.
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association host their ‘Longest Day’ fundraiser on June 21, the summer equinox. Teams from all over the United States take on a project or a challenge to do on June 21st. It also brings light to the reality of living with Alzheimer’s.
It is important to bring frequent attention to Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people with AD is increasing at a rapid rate. The reason for this is the escalating age of Boomers. Age is the greatest non-modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The first boomers have been turning 75 this year. The possibility/probability of getting Alzheimer’s increases to 1 in 5 after the age of the mid-seventies. I want to address two approaches to slow down or prevent AD.
To those of us who have crossed the threshold of the mid-sixties and are moving quickly through the seventies, take a close look at your lifestyle. Get up and move- gardening, dancing, pickleball, walking, and playing golf are a few ways of increasing new neuron growth and regenerating your brain volume! (that’s important) Make new synaptic connections by challenging your brain by reading, playing Wordle, lifelong learning classes, traveling, playing cards. Eat right – be sensible. There is so much healthy food available during the summer. Fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant. Grilling is an excellent way to cook low-fat. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Stay fresh and clean with the foods you eat. Be with people. Again, summer is a perfect time to get together with friends or family. Enjoying other peoples’ company is good for your own cognitive reserve! Get some sleep. Wake up ready to go and fall asleep from good exhaustion. Your brain needs some time to clean the toxins, cell debris and other yuk accumulating in your brain. Then, relax. Give yourself a break from stress. Go on a hike and let Mother Nature revive your spirits. These are all doable ways to take care of your brain. This is all your need to know but know this – you must be consistent in living this lifestyle.
The other approach is to donate to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This is the Alzheimer’s Association biggest fundraiser. The money raised goes to research, caregiver support, education, and patient support. The research budget has really increased over the past few years and the benefits are starting to become available. There are some medications that are working their way through FDA approval. But the biggest gain is how research is revealing interesting new facts on brain function. This is sort of solving the problem backward – when you know how everything works, you can develop new solutions whether through genetics, medications, or lifestyle. The more knowledge we have about how the brain works, the better prepared we are to stop Alzheimer’s disease.
With that note, I am announcing the start of my fundraising effort for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2023. Last year was an over-the-top success for team My Boomer Brain. We raised $7500. The bar is now high – but I would like to beat that this year. You can join the team and/or donate by going to www.act.alz.org/walk When you get there select either Search Team (My Boomer Brain) or search Participant (right now it is only me: Patricia Faust). The older I get the more critical this Walk becomes because we need to find the first survivor now!
Just a reminder: I will be on the Awe-Inspired and Retired podcast hosted by Riley Anderson and Caleb Miller on June 8, 2023, at 4pm EDT. We are going to be talking about retirement and the brain – what else! It will be a very vibrant discussion.
Enjoy June. Let your brain ‘play’ this summer!