Q: Dear Regina, I have been secretly keeping track of my memory. It is not treating me well. Some of my family and friends have noticed a few changes with me but brush it off as stress. I am not sure it is that. My doctor told me I need to get more sleep. Other than that, I am fine. I am noticing my concentration is not the same. I am worried it will get worse. My grandmother had dementia and I heard it is hereditary. I don’t want to take a lot of medication but I do not want to ignore this feeling. It is troubling me. Is there something I can do now to keep it from getting worse?
A: I can understand your concern and you are right to not ignore it. These conditions just don’t happen overnight. I am sure your doctor is correct in that you need more sleep. Sleep disturbance can cause poor memory and thinking challenges. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. Sleep is when the body heals and if your sleep is not at least 7-8 hours a day or it is broken sleep, you are putting your body in chronic survival mode. And the body is not designed to be active 24 hours. It needs real solid sleep to restore from the day’s work. Work on what is causing you to not get enough rest as number one. Secondly, get some lab work done if you have not done so already. Check your male/female hormones, thyroid, vitamin levels, and continue with self-cognitive test and bring results to your doctor. If you can find the underlying cause of the memory challenges, you can reverse the symptoms most of the time. However, if the test reveals more testing, evaluation from a neurologist and brain scans can help with diagnoses.
Even if you have a dementia type, it is recommended that you keep your mind active in learning something you enjoy. If you are retired, volunteer somewhere or pick up a hobby. If stress is your main cause, get some help with this. Unresolved stress is not healthy. Contact the local Alzheimer’s Association on recommendations for strengthening your memory. People with early symptoms can train their brain.
It has been discovered that keeping a socially active life style with friends and family may delay the onset of dementia.
For natural remedies, take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day (1 tbsp. in the morning and 1 tbsp. at midday). You will notice health benefits quickly and the fog will be lifted. If your symptoms are a little more than mild, increase the coconut oil to 2 tbsp. twice a day. It is recommended that you use virgin coconut oil and, as I have mentioned before, Ali Rose Virgin Coconut Oil is a favourite.
There are many things you can do to strengthen your cognitive function. As we age, our file cabinet of information becomes large or when we are on overload, our minds are loaded with information and can take a little time to filter the memory you are looking for. There are techniques you can exercise to sharpen the mind no matter what age you are. Even people with early dementia can benefit. Those with middle and later stages of the disease can benefit when the caregiver is trained to use them to help the person with dementia. These techniques will decrease the anxiety and agitation symptoms. It takes a willing caregiver and a lot of practice but it can be done and both the person with dementia and the caregiver can live well.
Be Aware of Warning Signs: You can pick up a list of them from local Alzheimer’s or Dementia Associations by calling and they can email or print you a copy. You can find them on Facebook or other organizations that specialize with dementia care.
One example of a warning sign: Having trouble completing a task you have always done. If you find yourself or someone you know taking longer to do the laundry, prepare a regular meal, balancing the check-book, cutting the grass or something else that is normally done at a reasonable time, now is a good time to investigate what is happening. Unfortunately, many people notice these changes but do nothing about it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get it checked out. You owe it to yourself and the people that love you to take care of your brain and your mind.
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