Since researchers have not yet determined what causes Alzheimer’s disease, you may be wondering if there is anything we can do to prevent it?
The answer is YES. RUSH University nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, ScD, and colleagues’ research has shown a link between nutrition and the role it may play to prevent or delay the onset of dementia decline. One of the studies showed the benefits of the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) on cognition – it included 960 participants with an average age of 81. The research analyzed food frequency and cognition scores over 10 years. Those on the MIND diet scored being 7.5 years younger cognitively!
In my time at HSL, I have come to value the power of art in our patients’ and residents’ lives. Science backs this up: For example, a recent study at The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York showed that Alzheimer’s patients had fewer emotional problems the week after a museum visit, as well as an improvement in mood, self-esteem and greater sense of social support.
So many of us grapple with what to say and do with an elderly loved one when visiting. Memory and cognitive impairment can be additionally challenging. My advice is paradoxical – get creative and keep it simple. Here are a few ideas to consider when planning your visit.