Dementia is an awful disorder affecting the brain, leading to memory problems, confusion, difficulty in expressing yourself outwardly, and understanding incoming information. It can also lead to spatial problems (the ability to judge and work with the size and space of objects) and issues with making judgments, Anyone who knows someone with dementia knows what a debilitating and heartbreaking condition it is for those left behind.
Alzheimer's Disease is one type of dementia, but there are also others. You can read more about the different types and the different parts of the brain they affect here.
Dementia generally affects older people, though there are some cases of younger onset dementia in people under 60. It is still unknown why some people develop it and some don't.
However, research has shown that doing things we love, keeping our brains active, exercising, and ensuring heart health are factors that may help prevent us getting dementia in the future. You can read more about who gets dementia and how to avoid it here.
To that end is the Heart Your Brain Challenge, a 21-day challenge to start something (or things) new for your brain, your body and your heart. Commit to writing poetry, exercising in different ways, meditating, losing weight, or make up your own challenges. Download BrainyApp, which will give you an indicator of your current brain health, and recommend activities for you to make it healthier. The thought of dementia in the future is such a scary one that it's easy for us to not want to think about it. But there are things we can do to reduce the possibility of it happening to us - and live a more interesting and varied life in the process.
Visit the site to get more information about dementia, join them on Facebook, and tweet your progress on Twitter with the hashtag #HeartYourBrain or @YourBrainMatter
I don't know if I told you, but starting the first week of April I'm going to be interning at a memory care center. All the residents have some form of dementia, to differing degrees. I've already been volunteering there, and it's so awesome to be able to care for these people with compassion. As much as I love them, though, I don't want to be one of them. Thanks for this article; it's an important reminder. -- Erin Word