Learning is the First step to Awareness

Hi, welcome to our time of tea & reflection dear friend! Today we are reflecting upon a very important topic which is relevant to all!

I have just recently completed a University course on its prevention so I will share an updated summary on what we can do to considerably lower our risk for this insidious disease, hopefully preventing it all together!

Dementia is the most concerning disease of our time

For governments & Epidemiological departments globally…so much so, that researchers from around the world are joining forces to try & alleviate population risk for the future development of this growing disease that has no known cure!

First let’s get comfortable with our cuppa’s, I have combined two tea blends today a Japanese Apple tea with a Lady Grey tea, accompanied by a GF Double Choc Brownie with candied citrus peel & walnuts to munch upon… absolutely delicious & so morish!

Again, it’s cold here today but the Winter Sun is shining & we have found a sheltered sunny spot under our big beautiful Jacaranda tree.

Now we are enjoying our beautiful sunny spot with our cuppa’s & treats, shall we begin our reflection together…

white head bust in museum

A little background for you, I have always had a professional interest in Dementia & how this condition develops & irreversibly affects the patient’s quality of life, as well as, the devastating impact upon their families.

Thus, I like to keep updated with the latest research findings & proven best practice therapies for this disease. Last year I did Understanding Dementia & this year part two, Preventing Dementia with the University of Tasmania, Australia, for continuing professional development.

These are free academic online courses open to all interested parties, world wide. I highly recommend them!

Now let’s see what we can do…

The longitudinal research has found that the earlier in life we start the following lifestyle inclusions the better the outcome.

However starting these lifestyle inclusions at any age showed a huge improvement in quality of life & considerably lowered the risk for Dementia.

Did you know there are several types of Dementia not just the commonly known one of Alzheimer’s Disease. There is also Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemperal Dementia, Younger onset Dementia & Dementia that may be brought on by other medical conditions.

Though today my emphasis will be on the preventative measures…Research has found that;

What is good for heart health is good for brain health…

Take care of your heart with all diligence for it is the wellspring of life!” Proverbs 4:23

At least 150 minutes of physical activity per week is the ideal target, this can incorporate walking, house chores, gardening or the more active aerobic exercise (for those fitter ones out there).

Any activity that gets our hearts pumping faster is good! Please check with your physician if you have heart problems before increasing your physical activity.

  • This can be done in the following increments of time each week… 7 days ÷ 150 minutes p/w = approximately 22 minutes per day of activity that gets your heart rate up!

Healthy Diet plays a large part too, so a well balanced diet similar to the Mediterranean diet is recommended! Fresh fruit & vegetables, grains, nuts, olive oil, dairy & lean meats.  Which makes sense as this is also great for our cardiovascular health.

Moderation of alcohol consumption…only 1 glass of wine per day is recommended. No catching up on weekends, no binge drinking. All alcoholic beverages impact neurological functionality & brain health!

Quality Sleep, is one of the important factors in this preventative prescription. Quality restorative sleep of at least 6 – 8 hours per night gives the brain time to clean the days accumulated plaque away & to organize it’s memory files.

Social & leisure health is also a part of the Preventing Dementia prescription… Those who have an active face to face social group that they can enjoy regularly, we’re seen to create healthy neurological chemicals & pathways.

Isolating oneself is unhealthy for social, mental, neurological & spiritual wellness.

Learning new things & educating ourselves throughout our life…Challenging our brains consistently & constantly creates new neural pathways that help build a Cognitive Reserve for healthier brain function & an investment for our quality of life in the future. This can be learning a new language, a new skill, doing puzzles, reading, going to museums or studying etc…

Keep Mentally healthy is also very important, making room for good mental health practices is essential. Getting professional help & treatment when needed. Making time for restorative activities.

The research found unaddressed or untreated Depression is one of the higher risk factors for Dementia (please note: not everyone who has Depression will get Dementia but rather the risk increases markedly if left untreated).

There was also good news for those of us who have chronic health conditions that cause Brain Malaise aka brain fog or fibro fog, research found there is no demonstrated higher risk between Brain Fog & Alzheimer’s (ref)! Yay!

So to personalize this, I am slowly building my physical activity to the target of 150 minutes per week, which seemed an absolute impossible task at first with having Fibromyalgia but I am already up to 75 minutes now! Slowly increasing the time over the past few weeks by walking.

I invite dear hubby out for a walk each time I go

So he is getting his physical activity increased too & I have noticed we talk about things that interest us more while we walk!

While we have always mostly followed a well balanced diet, similar to the Mediterranean one. I have cut back (though still have a small treat each day) on my sugary treats with my cuppa’s replacing most with fruit or nuts instead.

As you can see above I enjoy research, I find writing for this blog constantly challenging for building my Cognitive Reserve. I also enjoy reading & word puzzles.

I do try & socialize with friends & family as able. Over the past year, when possible, I have enjoyed a lovely time in morning tea & prayer with a little group of ladies from our village church.

And if you visit here often you already know I enjoy journaling, reflection & taking time to smell the roses.

The biggest challenge on the prescription for me is quality of sleep! As having Fibromyalgia, quantity & quality of sleep is often allusive. Though I had already began the following Sleep strategies…  to help this…which has improved it for the moment.

What could you do to improve your lifestyle from the preventing Dementia prescription?

Until next time,


You’re most welcome to join me in The Reading Nook

Or in Prayer

© 2019 Jennifer M. Ross, teawithjennifer.blog All Rights Reserved. Photos on Pexels.com

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38 thoughts on “Learning is the First step to Awareness

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  1. Jennifer, this is so informative and provides a more balanced life style. I have the most problem with my sleep, go to bed too late and get up too early. I definitely need more sleep and more exercise. Thank you for sharing what you have learned my friend. Hugs ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing some great tips Jennifer! Dementia is such a heartbreaking disease; anything we can do to help lessen our chances of getting it are worth the effort. Congratulations on increasing your activity levels. It sounds like you’re doing great with it. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blessings to you too! 😀 You’re welcome Terri! Thank you I’m just taking it slow & steady in building up to that target.
      Dementia is absolutely devastating for all involved including the health care providers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent information and review, Jennifer. As we age I think it is important to be as proactive as possible, to steward what God has given us. It may not stop dementia (or other things from happening), but even delaying it until as late as possible is reason enough to do these things. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pam, yes the recent research released, demonstrated that “Cognitive Reserve” starts to be built early in adult life so it’s important for all to lower their risk as much as possible throughout their lives 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My grandmother always believed that being social helped. She moved into a retirement community and said it forced her to get dressed and read the paper before she went down to breakfast. I think social interaction is also key.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A very interesting post Jennifer. I have had a few elderly relatives suffering from dementia, and the common denominator in all of them was a sedentary lifestyle. Thankfully, I am rid of the demon insomnia but it took a long time…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Learning new things & educating ourselves throughout our life…Challenging our brains consistently & constantly creates new neural pathways that help build a Cognitive Reserve for healthier brain function & an investment for our quality of life in the future. This can be learning a new language, a new skill, doing puzzles, reading, going to museums or studying etc…

    My favorite!!! Plus, I love your use of relatable words like ‘investment,’ ‘quality’ ‘consistently.’ If a mind/body/spirit understands what Cognitive Reserve is, they surely would want to build some (lots) within the walls of their own brains. When and if the time comes, it’s going to come in really really handy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jen,
      ‘Cognitive Reserve’ is how the brain connections grow as it processes & stores information. Similar when doing exercise, it builds muscle reserve in the body 😉
      I’m glad you love those activities! Lovely having you drop by! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Jennifer. As a widow now, my habits are changing..some along these lines, but many not. SO…I want to keep this away from my brain as my Mama had it and get concerned sometimes. Thanks for the gentle but firm reminder!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Linda, it’s so important to put these lifestyle choices into place, glad you are taking action. You would be aware first hand how devastating this insidious disease can be. ♥ in our time of widowhood there is a great need to look after ourselves…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found a set routine comforting after my lovely hubby passed & in that routine I forced myself to cook (as I didn’t feel like it at the time) a balanced meal 5 nights a week then froze the left overs for the weekends when I felt like a break.
        Once I got into the routine I actually found it comforting as it was…in a way…normalizing my life again… ♥


  8. I am interested in this, also. My mother died of Alzheimer’s so I have a fear of getting it myself. 😦 Quality of sleep is hard for me as well; I do spend an adequate amount of time in bed, but I can’t make myself always sleep the whole time I’m there. It can be discouraging. Thanks for sharing what you’re learning!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this valuable information, Jennifer. My mom suffered dementia for the last 3 years of her life, after suffering a stroke. She had to live in an assisted living facility, as she could not be alone, even for a very short period of time. She hated it and it was sad. I am trying to avoid that fate at any cost. I don’t want my children to have to care for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You know firsthand what this devastating disease can do Laurie, it is so very sad.
      I’m so glad that there are lifestyle inclusions that we can do right now to greatly lower our risk & I too believe it’s very valuable for each one of us. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent information here. My husband and I have been working more diligently on the diet step in this process. I’ve also taken a step toward moving more. With fibromyalgia and RA, it’s hard to do but little steps are a good start. Thanks.

    My blog has a section about fibromyalgia called Letters to Friends. I pose questions people ask and then I or another fibro warrior writes a letter answering the question. Maybe you would like to answer a question concerning fibro fog and dementia. (It’s nice to know that our possibilities of dementia do not increase because of fibro fog. But either way, we need to do what we can to improve the fog.

    Let me know if you would like to guest write. You can check out my Letters to Friends at https://www.mandyandmichele.com/letters-about-living-fibromyalgia/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Step by step, little by little is great Mandy! Yes it is comforting to know fibro fog isn’t connected to dementia or increases our risk for dementia.
      Lovely to have you drop by… 😀
      Thank you for the invitation I feel truly privileged…I’ll reply directly 😀


  11. I appreciate the update and your love of research in this area. I have friends whose parents suffer from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s so staying on top of a healthy lifestyle is important to me. I need to increase my physical activity. Summer is always easier for me because I love to walk outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad this information is important to you Mary, yes it’s more difficult in the cold & rain to go walking. Which we have at the moment, I do my stretching exercises inside on those days 😉


  12. Sharing your excellent pointers and checking off my list… doing my best to follow this heart-healthy ‘prescription’, Jennifer. The Proverbs reference is perfect on every level. ❤ Blessings and love, my friend. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m glad you broke that timeframe down into doable increments, Jennifer. I kind of felt overwhelmed when I saw that 150 hours/week! I sure want to protect myself from dementia, but don’t already exercise that much. Maybe I need to think smaller allotments more often! Thanks for this very informative and helpful post, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My husband’s paternal grandmother just died with Dementia, and his maternal grandmother died with advanced Alzheimer’s. Both my mother and my mother-in-law are showing signs of memory loss. So I’ve been eating walnuts, doing brain games every day, learning, and trying to remember to exercise at least 3x a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re most welcome Marielle!
      Though I’m saddened to hear that your family is going through this with your dear loved one.
      The free courses are most informative & well worth doing. Bless you…


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