Dementia is a hot topic, and not always for the right reasons. The annual cost of caring for those with dementia is approaching $10.5 billion a year, with over half a million Canadians living with dementia. That number is set to rise to almost a million by 2031.
This is just one of the many issues around dementia that the Alzheimer Society of Canada aim to raise during their annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Week (1). The Society is calling for a national dementia strategy to create “A Canadian solution to curb the soaring economic, social and personal impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia is a general term covering various types of disorders of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific disease first identified in 1906 by Dr Alois Alzheimer. A patient with Alzheimer’s develops dense deposits throughout their brain know as plaques. Over time, these plaques become toxic to the surrounding brain cells.
They also develop “tangles” which have the effect of ‘choking’ the living brain cells. So the patient’s brain shrinks, affecting functions including memory, cognitive ability and behaviour.
While there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s there are medication that can help improve quality of life for patients over several years. Early diagnosis can also help reduce the impact and help dementia patients live well for longer. Keeping fit and active, eating well and doing puzzles such as crosswords, sudoku and word searches can help keep the brain active.
Eat well for a healthy brain
A healthy diet can help maintain brain health and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The Society recommends you watch your cholesterol, blood sugar and weight, and eat a well-balanced diet rich in cereals, fish, legumes and vegetables.
Reduce your risk during National Hot Tea Month
For all you tea-lovers celebrating national Hot Tea Month (3), there’s an added bonus. Tea is rich in flavonoids, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Green tea contains the antioxidant EGCg which research suggests might help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s (2). EGCg decreases the production of beta amyloid protein, which is the protein that creates the plaques mentioned above.
Alzheimer’s, memory care and AMG London
AMG London is not just a state of the art medical clinic. The third and fourth floors of our landmark building are home to residents living in The Manor Village London, a superb senior living community purpose-built for both independent living and memory care residents. The Manor Village group host the Gordie Howe Centre for Alzheimer’s Research and Education Society (Gordie Howe C.A.R.E.S.) in Calgary, and our residents benefit from the Centre’s work, research and findings.
Boost your brain at AMG London!
So, why not pop in to AMG London for a refreshing cup of tea at the Apple A Day healthy eating bistro? It’ll do you good! So will taking a dance class, discussing how to quit smoking with staff at the Rexall pharmacy, or chatting to one of our dieticians about how to reduce your weight. Every one of these activities could reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, and all of them are available right here at AMG London. Why not bring a friend; the more we can spread the word about ways to reduce the risk of dementia, the better.
(2) Williams et al, Flavonoids, cognition and dementia: Actions, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic utility for Alzheimer disease, Free Radical Biology & Medicine 52, 2012, 35-45