Check out the May 10 Patriot book for tips on healthy eating for your brain. At a forum in Hingham on Friday, experts discussed how some memory loss and slowing thinking are normal with age, but there are easy steps you can take, from age 40, to prevent them.
The one-day program was sponsored by the Norwell Visiting Nurse Association at the Hingham Senior Center.
"It's not too late to start, even if you're 80," said Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo to more than 80 people on the Alzheimer's disease program. "If you already have some memory loss, you can delay it for five years." Lombardo is with the Boston University School of Medicine.
More than half of those attending the free event were caregivers and people whose relatives are affected by Alzheimer's. The others were professionals.
Dr. Richard S. Fischer of the New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton said that dementia, or severe memory loss, is not a natural consequence of aging.
However, he said, there are normal changes in the brain over time. The most significant is the loss of white matter and this can cause people to have more difficulty remembering things, focusing and can slow down other mental processing.
Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes significantly increase the risk of stroke and dementia, he said. Mild cognitive impairment – minor changes – are more likely to progress to dementia, but in about 20 percent of people, they do not get worse.
Lynn Serper described a new method she developed, based on her personal experience, to improve memory and thinking.
Joan Garity, a nurse and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He described how family members express their pain differently about changes in someone with Alzheimer's disease.
South Shore Elder Services in Braintree helped finance the event.
Video credits to Patriot Ledger YouTube channel