Social Worker Darby Morhardt discusses the opportune time for a woman to advocate for her health after noticing memory loss.
Well, I think it is important to recognize that we all are going to experience memory changes as we age. Unfortunately, this is really common, and we are going to not be able to remember somebody’s name as well as we did when we were in our 20s or just misplace things or not feel as organized, especially if we are juggling lots of different responsibilities, which many of us are. We are working, we are taking care of our families, we are trying to do an amazing array of activities.
But what is important to recognize is that when you have difficulty being independent, that’s when you should start to worry. So if you are having difficulty with maybe paying your bills. I guess all of us can forget to pay a bill now and then, but if you forget to the point where your electricity is getting shut off or you forget to pay your rent or your mortgage, then you are, it’s impeding your ability to really live and be independent.
So that’s really, those are signs that you really need to get some help. For those of us who are experiencing kind of normal aging memory loss or normal memory loss of aging, then one of the best things to do is to take as a good care of ourselves as possible. What we often talk about is what is good for the heart is good for the brain, and there are a lot of cardiovascular, there’s a cardiovascular relationship that we are finding to Alzheimer’s disease.
So the more we exercise, the more we eat right, nutritionally, the more we, it’s also there’s that "use it or lose it" theory. We need to stay as active and keep our minds as active as possible. People talk about doing crossword puzzles.
I always say if you enjoy crossword puzzles do crossword puzzles, but if you enjoy doing other things like going to, you know, an art museum or going to a concert or dancing or doing something that requires mental and physical abilities is really ideal, then that’s what you do. You really just stay as active as possible and don’t isolate yourself. Get together with friends and so have as healthy a life as you can.
About Darby Morhardt, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.:
Darby Morhardt is a research associate professor, the Director of Education, and a clinical research social worker at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research interests include early stage and Younger Onset dementia programs and services, the dynamics and functioning of caregiving families, the subjective experience of Alzheimer's disease, and primary care physician education.