A Resolution Worth Keeping: Take Better Care of Your Brain

New Year's Resolutions for Brain Health
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New year's resolutions: Do you make them? Do you keep them? Do you ignore that whole trend because nobody keeps them anyway? Do you start with the best of intentions and then life returns to normal in a few short weeks?

Confession: I used to fall in the cynical camp when it comes to resolutions. Why set a bunch of goals that I'm not going to reach? I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon just because it's the thing to do, especially if I know that these resolutions are not really resolutions but just a bunch of workout gyms trying to hype their business by selling me on chasing the perfect body.

No, thank you.

But, the thing is, I've had to eat my words. I'm still not going to obsess over the fitness level I had 20 years ago, but I am going to chase something worthwhile: health. Specifically, brain health.

I hear you asking me why. (At least, I'd like to think that you're curious, so I'll answer the question I'm hoping you're asking.) It's because I've seen thousands of people who have lost the ability to think clearly, to hold memories, to communicate needs and to recall the faces of their children. It's because we, as medical professionals, can replace hips and knees and even hearts, but still have no good answer for how to help those whose memories are being taken by Alzheimer's and other kinds of dementia. It's because dementia hurts those who suffer from it and those who watch those who are living with it. It's because research has no good answers for how to solve the puzzle of dementia so the emphasis is on prevention.

It's because, Lord-willing, I'd like to be able to know my friends and my grandchildren that some day I hope to have, and I'd love to not have my children watch me slip away in this manner.

Now, lest you think I'm devaluing the many I love who are living with dementia, let me clarify. I count it a blessing and privilege to know the people I do: to love them, to build relationships with them, to respect and honor them, to see them as the whole person.

But, I do know that if they could tell me something to pass on to you, I'm quite sure they'd argue passionately for you to take the best care of your mind that you possibly can. I'm also quite sure they'd like to have kept theirs intact if they had been able. 

So, take it from them- my loved ones and friends who are living with dementia. Don't wait to do what you can do now to protect the gift of your mind and your memory. While there's no guaranteed way to fully prevent dementia, research is crystal clear that there are many ways to reduce the risk. Start today. Perhaps you could even make a resolution about this, and keep it, too.

Where to Start

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