Category: Chartered Blog

Alzheimer’s: what not to forget

In her fifties, my gran developed Alzheimer’s. I remember visiting her as a child. One of my first experiences of her illness was when she began to lose her ability to filter what she said to those around her. On one occasion, I took a friend along with me to see her. It turns out my gran didn’t like my friend. So what did she do? She told my friend to leave! This is not something she would normally have done – not the gran that I knew.

Health changes people – for better or worse

And we had no idea at the time how my gran’s health, or lack of it, was changing her. We even thought that she had been drinking secretly, so unpredictable was her behaviour. But of course, this wasn’t the case at all and it was just a few months later that she was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. I had always understood that this disease is genetic and somewhere at the back of my mind, I’ve worried that I might fall prey to it too. Watching her deteriorating was devastating.

But a recent Carte Blanche episode shed some light on the subject. It’s estimated that 9.9 million new cases of Alzheimer’s are reported annually – and while nothing can cure this disease, some simple lifestyle choices can help prevent it.

The three pillars of health

What we eat, how we move and how we sleep – research and the experts tell us that, done well, they can help push back this disease. That’s because the cell loss process begins 20 years before the disease presents. Plus, the role of genetics is less than researchers first thought. It’s actually environmental factors that determine if it develops. That’s encouraging for me – because it means there is less left to fate and more that I can manage.

Take action as early as you can
Physical fitness is all-important. Did you know that all it takes is brisk walking to reverse brain-size decreasing, something that happens in old age? And eating well is essential; when it comes to keeping Alzheimer’s at bay, a Mediterranean diet is encouraged. Did you know that olive-growing regions rich in fish, vegetables (especially leafy, green ones), fruit and seeds benefit us cognitively and reduce our risks? Sleep, that third – and one of my favourite things – pillar (or is it pillow?) is important for brain function. The slow wave sleep phase is when your brain development increases.

Will these three pillars eliminate your risk of Alzheimer’s? No. But apparently, they can more than halve it! That’s a statistic I’m happy to work with.

So, to the three pillars then! And to a cruise on the Med – purely for health purposes, of course!

Warm regards

It’s time to #MakeThisTheYear

Our Retire Successfully theme for 2017 is #MakeThisTheYear.

Yes, why not make 2017 the year? And don’t allow the usual objections to hold you back … I am not sure if it is the right time. What will others say? What if I fail? Doesn’t that seem a bit selfish?

So often, regret happens because we put many of our dreams on hold, waiting for the perfect time. Ask yourself: when is the perfect time? Will it ever come? Let’s not miss doing the things we have always wished we had. The time I share with clients in life planning meetings is always extremely special, as clients express verbally, often for the first time, those dreams they have cherished, but buried deep. They may never have even acknowledged the desire clearly to themselves, but quietly waited for the perfect time for this nascent desire to come to light.

Often, just verbalising and sharing the idea, knowing that someone else recognises that desire, makes it more possible to realise.

The NOW is what is important. Today, look at January 2017 and say: I am going to #MakeThisTheYear.

Whether it is having a difficult conversation, going on that trip, joining a dance group, or just having some fun, what is important is having the courage and the willingness to make it a reality.

So, today is the perfect day to start.

A Chartered couple in a recent life planning meeting shared with me that when they give friends who need encouragement a copy of Dr Seusss book: Oh The Places You’ll Go. The book opens with these inspirational words:

Congratulations

Today is your day

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

And ends

So … Be your name Buxhaum or Bixby or Bray

Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O ‘Shea,

You’re off to great places!

Today is your Day!

Your Mountain is waiting

So…..get on your way!

So whatever your mountain, #NoMoreExcuses #JustGoForIt #Make this the year.

I look forward to hearing from you what you are going to do in 2017.

Best Wishes

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