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My former coworker (another life too short thread)
Old 07-11-2016, 07:31 PM   #1
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My former coworker (another life too short thread)

My former coworker retired about 2 years ago. She reminded me Hyacinth Bucket from "Keeping up appearances" (old BBC show) - she would even whisper "black" when referring to someone's race. Anyhow, I can't say I was upset to see her go but felt bad she had to wait until she was 67 - her husband left her about 20 years prior and she had to start over financially, in many ways.

I noticed she was always hanging out in the lobby of work, at least once a week, talking to the front desk guards and whoever she could catch walking in or out. Went to lunch sometimes with friends from work, etc. Otherwise I didn't think much of it.

Today one of my employees told me they got the word, she had advanced dementia and was placed in an assisted living home. Ends up she had been in half a dozen accidents recently and the last one she couldn't piece together the events for the cops. I'm glad she didn't get hurt but man, 69! She said to a friend, "That's a nice car!" to which she replied, "What are you talking about? That's your own car!"

I'm only 27 years from 69, my Dad died when he was 70, wow I really want to get out!! Any tips on fighting/delaying dementia? That scares me more than most things.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:44 PM   #2
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Can dementia be prevented? - Dementia guide - NHS Choices
Quote:
To reduce your risk of developing dementia and other serious health conditions, it's recommended that you:


  • eat a healthy diet
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise regularly
  • don't drink too much alcohol
  • stop smoking (if you smoke)
  • make sure to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level

Mostly, IMO, don't worry about things that may or may not ever happen if there's not too much you can do about it, other than the above, which probably only reduces the odds). There are also some meds you can take to delay it if you do start showing early signs. And in 27 years it may be a thing of the past. Donate to Alzheimer's research if you want (after checking that most of your money actually goes to research and not fundraising and administration).
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:49 PM   #3
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Can dementia be prevented? - Dementia guide - NHS Choices



Mostly, IMO, don't worry about things that may or may not ever happen if there's not too much you can do about it, other than the above, which probably only reduces the odds). There are also some meds you can take to delay it if you do start showing early signs. And in 27 years it may be a thing of the past. Donate to Alzheimer's research if you want (after checking that most of your money actually goes to research and not fundraising and administration).


My dad did all of those things and still died of Alzheimer's. His death scared the crap out of me.


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Old 07-11-2016, 07:50 PM   #4
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I agree. I would worry about it if your parents or a close relative have some kind of genetic disease. Meanwhile, like what RunningBum says, just maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:01 PM   #5
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Scares the crap out a me too. Both my parents had it to different degrees albeit at advanced age. Sad, very sad.

In this area KU has a new research facility for dementia, their advice was all about exercise and healthy lifestyle too. Conversely outside of early onset dementia, the chance of disease increases with age. So I guess one should live healthy and die young to avoid the disease. Not really good answers to share.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:57 PM   #6
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Laurence, I agree, that is very scary indeed.

Fate is capricious. While life has given most of us at least a few tough situations to deal with, often we have also been extraordinarily fortunate at other times in life. I hope she had a wonderful life for a while between her divorce and the time when dementia set in. I also hope that despite her mental disabilities she is happy for now.

As for ways to ward off dementia - - I don't really know. Expecting a healthy lifestyle to lower one's risk of dementia to zero sounds sort of like hanging garlic to repel vampires, to me.

But then the same is true for another thing I do to lower my risk of dementia, and that is to try to exercise my mind every day. I do puzzles, brain teasers, sudoku, and more. When we eat out, I insist on doing the math in my head to figure out how much each of us should pay including tax and tip - - even if he does it too, I want to do the computation in my head for practice.

At some point, I suspect it all comes down to luck, fate, or heredity. But we do what we can.
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:17 PM   #7
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There is a fair amount of evidence that consumption of grains (and sugar) may be related to degenerative brain disease. Dr. David Perlmutter is one big proponent of this theory (he wrote the book "Grain Brain"). We've always been told that whole grains are healthy, and that processed grains are what you need to avoid or minimize, but Perlmutter contends that all grains can cause problems over time (as can sugar, and foods/drinks with added sugar). Here is a very brief summary of the diet he recommends:

"Perlmutter describes the current U.S. diet as 60 percent carbs, 20 percent protein, and 20 percent fat. His ideal is close to that of the Paleo diet: 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs. He allows for up to 50 to 80 grams of carbs daily, which is about one serving of fruit. The heart of the diet is “good fats like olive oil, avocado, wild fish, organic nuts and nutrient-dense vegetables.”"

You may or may not agree with him (I personally think he may be right), but it is something to consider, anyway, if you are concerned about dementia/alzheimers. There is a lot more information available online about all this also.
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:24 PM   #8
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Both my parents died of vascular dementia within a year or so of each other so naturally, I'm concerned. Hopefully a reliable medication will be found soon. If all else fails, I read recently that some think a combination of pot and Ibuprofen is effective at warding off Alzheimer's.

All in the interests of personal health, you understand
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by laurence View Post
I'm only 27 years from 69, my Dad died when he was 70, wow I really want to get out!! Any tips on fighting/delaying dementia? That scares me more than most things.
My only recommendation, and I'm at least half serious about this, is to enjoy life to the fullest, and make sure to do things that have a good chance of killing you quickly instead of withering away. If it doesn't work, at least you had a good time before it gets you.

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Old 07-11-2016, 11:29 PM   #10
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In this area KU has a new research facility for dementia, their advice was all about exercise and healthy lifestyle too. Conversely outside of early onset dementia, the chance of disease increases with age. So I guess one should live healthy and die young to avoid the disease. Not really good answers to share.
What do you know about the new KU research facility? What do they do there? My mother has been diagnosed with PSP at age 58 (like Parkinson's Disease but worse & kills ya faster) and lives in Wichita. My mom & stepdad seem pretty clueless about the disease, what they need to do, and how to navigate the system. She is not that much older than me & the same age as my S.O.

My S.O.'s father died from complications of Parkinson's Disease, so I am nervous one of us will end up dazed & confused. Hopefully if either of us get dementia or something worse, neither of us will linger on for years in the latter stages.

My S.O. is much older than I am, so I am constantly trying to figure out how to FIRE as soon as possible. The great financial risk posed by uncontrollable health insurance & healthcare costs in this country are making a safe & secure FIRE nearly impossible though IMO. I am a long way from Medicare...if it is still even around when I hit 65, 67, 70, or what ever Congress ends up pushing the age back to. Becoming an ex-pat in a decent county with more affordable healthcare might be an option to FIRE earlier & and reduce the healthcare cost & risk. I am just starting to look into this.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:19 AM   #11
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What do you know about the new KU research facility? What do they do there?
Not an impressive amount, we live in the area there's been several local news stories. Here's a link: http://www.kualzheimer.org/

A friend of mine her DM was evaluated there for early onset dementia. My friend was particularly impressed with the treatment her DM received there. While DM is now in a memory unit my impression was they got a good clear diagnosis and advice on how to improve the quality of life DM has.

Good luck.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:29 AM   #12
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That is scary, Laurence. We had a family friend when I was growing up. She was single and estranged from her family after blowback after her parents died. (She was executor and had to kick out a sibling from the family house because the will explicitely said to do so.) Anyway, she joined us for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving.

She developed dementia in her mid 60's. My parents had to work with social services to deal with it. She spent a few years in a home (they didn't call them memory units back then). It was very sad.

I've spent the past week visiting my MIL (and other family.) MIL has dementia and it has increased a LOT since the last time I saw her. She's 89 - so it's not unexpected... but it is eye opening how much is taken from you with dementia. The good news is that she has found her happy place. When she first started getting dementia she was always angry. Now she thinks her room in the facility is a shore house condo. (She loves the Jersey shore). She is reliving her late teens/early 20's... Talking about her first serious boyfriend (who died in WWII) and her job at the bank. She's no longer angry - and reliving her happiest times.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:33 AM   #13
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Any tips on fighting/delaying dementia? That scares me more than most things.
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My only recommendation, and I'm at least half serious about this, is to enjoy life to the fullest, and make sure to do things that have a good chance of killing you quickly instead of withering away. If it doesn't work, at least you had a good time before it gets you.
This. Just live your life the best you can.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:35 AM   #14
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My only recommendation, and I'm at least half serious about this, is to enjoy life to the fullest, and make sure to do things that have a good chance of killing you quickly instead of withering away. If it doesn't work, at least you had a good time before it gets you.

I know this is not a humorous subject in the least (my Mom had moderate to borderline severe dementia when she died of COPD) but I have told my wife that when things start getting bad for me, I am going to start doing all the activities that are listed as exclusions on life insurance policies. I too hope that there are advances in medical advances and hope that it happens sooner than later.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:37 AM   #15
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Learn another language! Especially languages that use a different alphabet.

There is zero evidence that eating grains contributes to dementia. There is, however, lots of evidence that scaring people silly with made-up claims is good for book sales.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:00 AM   #16
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My dad did all of those things and still died of Alzheimer's. His death scared the crap out of me.


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My father had severe dementia as well. He lived with me for the last five years of his life. His death was a blessing. It was his life for those last few years that scared the crap out of me.


I play World of Warcraft semi-seriously, and I think that helps me with situational awareness. It is mentally stimulating, but I'm concerned about not getting enough physical exercise. I think a balance is really important.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:23 AM   #17
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Learn another language! Especially languages that use a different alphabet.

There is zero evidence that eating grains contributes to dementia. There is, however, lots of evidence that scaring people silly with made-up claims is good for book sales.
This. Keeping your mind actively engaged and challenged plays some role, and even if it's only slightly helpful in warding off dementia, at least you get the benefits of life-long learning and mental stimulation. Language learning (even things like computer programming languages) is at the top of my personal list for keeping my mind sharp as I get older. The people I've known who developed dementia had several things in common: hours and hours of TV every day, very little exercise, never reading books or doing crosswords puzzles, never breaking out of their daily routines to try anything new or mentally challenging.

And I agree with the zero evidence linking consumption of grains with dementia. It could be related, of course, but so could a zillion other things that are not yet known and haven't been proven by rigorous, controlled studies.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:33 AM   #18
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Alzheimer's definitely runs in my mother's family. She died at 77, her sister at 81, and their Mom at 86. They all suffered for 7-10 years. It's a horrible disease that I've seen up close and personal. I'll just leave it at that.

I'm not going to worry about it. Not much you can do. DW and I have been low-carb eaters for about 3 years now. Our weight and blood pressure is good (wasn't always that way). We have an active lifestyle (physically and mentally) and never smoked. Hopefully this lowers the odds a bit, but who knows. Red wine is our only vice, and that's not too bad. We give money to Alzheimer's research and stay abreast of developments in prevention and treatment.

Beyond that we're just thankful that we were able to ER at 52 so we can enjoy life doing whatever we want every day. So many people will not have that option. The thought of working into your late 60s and then getting this disease... well, it's not a pleasant thought.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:29 AM   #19
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I just looked at a map of countries with the lowest dementia rates and I don't think any of them, including countries like India, North Korea, Somalia and Thailand, are known for eating Paleo diets, so I would also question the Perlmutter conclusions. Many of the countries on the bottom of the list would likely have ethnic peasant kind of diets. So I could see eating less processed foods as a factor since most of the low incidence countries also tend to be less developed.

Here is the map:
ALZHEIMERS/DEMENTIA DEATH RATE BY COUNTRY

We have a neighbor we would run into walking our dogs, and he started introducing himself to us every time we saw him, which was 2 -3 times a week.
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:57 PM   #20
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One of the rationalizations justifications for flying radio control models is that the mental stimulation will hopefully ward off dementia. At least that's what I tell my wife.

It is scary. A woman at work got it in her early 50's, and before it came on she was a very bright lady. Very sad to see.
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