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Fearing Alzheimer's


This is a review of a non-fiction I did recently. 
100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's And Age-Related Memory Loss
Author: Jean Carper
Publisher: Little, Brown, 322 pages
WHILE I was purchasing petrol at a station five years ago, a neatly dressed, well-spoken senior citizen greeted me with a cheery hello.
His approach came like the morning sun. I was pleasantly taken aback by the friendly stranger and gave him my attention as he began checking directions to a nearby location. As I was half way through giving my explanation to the man who seemed rather confused about the area, a younger version of him came up and politely took him away, saying, “I’m sorry about my dad. Sometimes, he wanders off like this.”
Both waved at me as they got into their car while my confused mind was busy putting the pieces together. The old uncle must be suffering from Alzheimer’s – a form of dementia that gradually gets worse, affecting memory, thinking and behaviour, I concluded.
From that day on, I thought about the old man once in a while and wondered about the disease that makes you forget the route to your home. Such a frightening phenomenon to befall you, isn’t it?
Three years later I was at an Alzheimer’s awareness event in Kuala Lumpur, listening to doctors, volunteers and caregivers talk in detail about the condition. This was accompanied by videos projecting situations and scenarios that for the first time revealed to me the emotional, physical and psychological stress that, not only the patient, but his or her family members and caregivers go through.
How do you deal with a mother who rings the police thinking you’ve broken into her house? It was a gripping talk and I was in tears.
Alzheimer’s is as serious as a heart attack, indeed. Now that I’m more aware of the disease, it tops my Fear List (second only to freak road accident), so when I spotted Jean Carper’s book, 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s And Age-related Memory Loss, in the pile of books-to-review at work, I picked it up right away so I could learn more and maybe do my bit to help spread awareness about the condition.
Carper is an award-winning medical journalist with 23 books to her credit. She also carries the ApoE4 gene that makes her exceptionally vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. Although it doesn’t mean that she and others who carry the gene are doomed to develop the disease, knowing that she’s a carrier has led her to focus on looking at ways to lower the risk. Hence, she has followed the research findings on the condition and other age-related memory loss for nearly 40 years. So, naturally, 100 Simple Things comes supported with lots of research findings. The book is holistic in its approach to lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, covering everything from lifestyle and food to mental attitude and social interactions.
But don’t be intimidated by the number, 100. Carper’s presentation is simple to follow. The format allows you to randomly read instead of following from page to page. Every simple thing you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s is a chapter of its own, and each chapter is just two to three pages long, all written in a fuss-free style for the lay person.
If you’re still too lazy to read most of a chapter, you can skip to the What To Do part at the end of every chapter, where the writer gives you suggestions on what you can do in relation to what’s discussed in a chapter. For instance, chapter 27 is Eat Curry and Carper throws in a research finding that says the elderly in rural India are four times less likely to have Alzheimer’s than the elderly in Pennsylvania in America. And she goes into more studies and brain reaction to curries. In that chapter’s What To Do section are some constructive action plans on curry consumption – what type of curries, spice uses, etc.
Some of the action plans may seem basic and more for overall health care, but some stand out. Like, who knew marriage plays a part in delaying or off-setting Alzheimer’s! So does Googling something on the Internet, having a purpose in life, and taking care of your teeth. There is a lot to learn from this book – and it’s worth reading even if you’re not afraid of getting Alzheimer’s or any other kind of age-related memory loss.

Comments

  1. Does she say what active ingredient in curry prevents memory loss? People who don't like curry could just take a pill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. turmeric, GB.
      the yellow powder.
      :)

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    2. I had curry with turmeric rice today at work. It was on the menu for our patients so i guess we're doing the right thing!

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    3. I guess so too, Nursie :)

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  2. Sounds like a great read to me Jaya. Alzheimer's really is a horrible mental illness and if it can be stopped prevented then that's never a bad thing. Loved your review too, especially the bit about the old man, awesome stuff.

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    Replies
    1. thanks, Matthew. it's just a scary thought to lose your mind to such an illness. i can't imagine what it must be like for those who have it and their caregivers. god help them.

      Delete
  3. My mother had Alzheimer’s – and, yes, I do fear getting it.
    I should read this book. Better to DO something about my fear rather than just worry…

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    Replies
    1. educating yourself more on the facets of the condition is a good way to go about it i suppose, Beth.

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  4. I took care of a number of people with advanced Alzheimer's. It's very, very difficult to deal with them. Some become quite violent.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. i think i know what you mean. my granddad had a brief period of memory loss just before he passed. he got violent at home that we had put him through a nursing home.

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  5. I keep my mind on the go, so hopefully I will never suffer from such a thing. Or hopefully there will be a cure by the time I'm that age, that be good too.

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    Replies
    1. you shouldnt have to worry much with that all that rhyming going on for you :P

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  6. That cliched phrase 'having a senior moment' is no joke. Alzheimer's is a bit on the scary side.

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  7. I know people's relatives that have had this dreadful illness. It's truly horrible on the person and the family.

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  8. Ooof, Alzheimers is horrible...I feel like that book would just serve to make me paranoid, though.

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    Replies
    1. haha. i suppose it could be too.

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  9. My father has Alzheimers. It breaks my heart.

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    Replies
    1. im sorry to hear that. hugs.

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  10. My grandmother had Alzheimer...i don wanna have this disease, its a torture to others...tats the reason i always educate myself from the net...

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    Replies
    1. i suppose that's a way to go about it. prevention is better than cure.

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  11. It's a terrible condition that needs a magic pill, Jaya J. No old person in my family (on my Mom's side - the Blue side, yes) ever escapes Alzheimer. I'm particularly worried, as is my Angie, that I won't be a stranger to it either. Every day I lose my car and forget about the things I did the day before. In class I'll say things like 'let's do the exercise on p.200' and my students will tell me we did that a couple of days ago (or if I'm really lucky, half an hour ago). So I've got my strategies. I'm just hoping for that magic pill (and I don't mean the blue one....). Meanwhile I will need to read that book.

    - Randy

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    Replies
    1. i would be too as a partner, RC...or Randy ? it's a nightmare.
      i also forget many things. like when i'm up in the mornings, it takes me about 2 minute to figure out where i was going and what i was doing for that day. it's scary. i dont know of anyone in my family with memory loss problems, except for my maternal granddad whose ML was due to an accident.
      maybe because i only eat curries once or twice a month ?? haha.
      oh well, RC. let's hope for that magic pill :)

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    2. RC.... Randy..... whichever you prefer, Jaya J :)

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  12. It's one of my biggest worries too - imagine having someone you care for not remember who you are anymore.

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  13. This is one of my fears of losing my personality. It is horrid how we treat older people. Some say it is genetic, others stress related.I read this horrible story once about a writer (Terry Pratchett) who was diagnosed with this rare from of alzheimers. He literally could feel himself getting more forgetfull. And as a writer, he could document how it felt. Terrible to read it.

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