My mother-in-law died from dementia. We lost her long before she passed away physically in December 2016. In the last couple of years of her life, she no longer recognised her family. She only recognised my daughter Kat.
She had to be cared for round the clock. In her rare moments of lucidity, she cried for her long-dead parents. She worried about her blind mother. “I need to get home to Mum!” she would cry. Her mother went blind when she was 11, and she spent her whole lifetime caring for others (her father died when she was 17). And she went through anguish believing that her dead-husband left her for another woman because he had not visited her. Oh mum, your husband is dead, faithful to you till his dying day.
She shook me to the core each time I visited her.
My parents, on the other hand, despite being of not-so-good health, are lucky because they have their mental faculties as well as each other in their 82nd year. “Your father still out-argues me,” my partner commented.
Right up to the last decade, it was believed that brain cells cannot be regenerated, but new research has shown that we can help neurogenesis by three ways:
(1) AEROBIC EXERCISE. Run, run, run! It must be aerobic and sustained.
Fearful people tell me to stop running to prevent damage to my old knees but I still run with vengeance, because for me, running is life. I average 35 kms a week along the beach and the hilly roads of my beloved Phuket, in the rain or blazing sun My partner who runs like a fiend has titanium knees and one of our greatest pleasures is running with each other, side by side, heart beating in rhythm to each other’s. When he is away, we would synchronise our runs so that we are still running with each other, connected across the miles by our iPhones, across different time zones.
(2) LESS CALORIES! Studies show that caloric reduction leads to an extended lifespan, significantly increases production of new neurons, and reduces the risk of neurological diseases, such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. Japanese scientists also showed that eating hard, chewy stuff also helps neurogenesis. Chew on celery and carrot sticks! Check out my delicious baba ganouj recipe to dip the sticks in.
(3) EAT GOOD FAT – omega-3 fatty acids! Try to eat good fat and also a diet rich in colours. There are a lot of recipes in this blog on colourful food, which I make almost on a daily basis. Note: I also put lots of berries in my smoothies.
(4) LIVE WELL!!!! Less stress, sleep well, love healthily, laugh a lot, live in contentment. Mental damage from being in a toxic environment wreaks havoc not only to the body but the brain. Two years on from a terrible time, I am feeling better and younger than ever. And this is what this blog is all about…..getting you there step-by-step with me ❤
Thanks for sharing this Jacq. Really a wake up call. ❤
Good that you pay heed x