by Melinda Fulmer
(TNS) The statistics on women and Alzheimer's disease are startling.
Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's. Two-thirds are women, according to the Alzheimer's Assn.
Women in their 60s are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's over the course of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.
Once women develop mild cognitive impairment, their cognitive decline is two times faster than men.
And no one knows why women are so disproportionately affected by the disease.
California's former first lady and Alzheimer's activist Maria Shriver is puzzled by the indifference she sees among women regarding their cognitive health. Maybe it's fear and ageism, she says, but many are reluctant to even acknowledge the threat, and fewer still are asking their doctors about how to prevent it.
"I ask myself all the time," Shriver says, "why aren't more people interested in this? Why isn't this of more national importance? This is the biggest health crisis in the world. ... It bankrupts families faster than any other disease."
That's not just because there's no known cure for Alzheimer's. Women also make up a disproportionate share of the caregiving.
Shriver launched the Women's Alzheimer's Movement for advocacy, fundraising and education in 2009 after research was released showing the disease's disproportionate effect on women. Scientists used to think that women were harder hit by Alzheimer's as a consequence of generally living longer than men. But that isn't so, says Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Assn. She says new studies suggest that there are more explanations from the different biological pathways in women's brains, the effect of hormones or even the way women's brains metabolize food differently. Because Alzheimer's typically takes two decades to develop before memory changes occur, adopting a brain-healthy lifestyle in your 30s and 40s can make a big difference, Snyder says.
Shriver, for her part, has started meditating to "change the way I process stress," took up dance and learned poker, ironed out a more regular sleep pattern, added more healthy fats to her diet and cut back on sugar to reduce inflammation in her body and brain.
Here are nine tips for reducing your risk of Alzheimer's, as recommended by the Alzheimer's Assn.:
1. Break a sweat
Regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
2. Challenge yourself mentally
Education at any stage of life is beneficial for brain health, from an online course to classes at your local community center or college. Even mental challenges like jigsaw puzzles, card games and art classes have an effect.
3. Quit Smoking
Quitting can take your risk down to levels comparable to those who have never smoked.
4. Get your numbers
Growing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease, from obesity to high cholesterol and blood pressure, also may increase the risk of dementia. Get your numbers checked.
5. Protect your noggin
Brain injury can increase your risk of cognitive decline and dementia, so wear a helmet for sports, click that seatbelt, and avoid falls.
6. Eat a healthy diet
Certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.
7. Get enough sleep
Sleep apnea and insomnia can result in problems with memory and thinking.
8. Stay socially engaged
Volunteer, help a neighbor, take an exercise class with a friend, or just share more activities with friends and family.
9. Stress less
Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek help from a professional for depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health concerns. That includes finding ways to manage stress.
(c)2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
By Rachel Weiss, Newsday
When you’ve celebrated 50 years together as a married couple, you learn a few things about love, resolving arguments and staying happy. From first date jitters to blissful wedding bells, three Long Island couples Vincent and Walda Corazon of North Bellmore, Gerald and Amelia Mullen of Roosevelt and Jim and Dianne Jackman of Manorville shared some of their fondest memories, biggest surprises, and insider tips and secrets to a long and happy union.
Vincent and Walda Corazon
Vincent and Walda Corazon first met at a party in the Bronx when he was 16 and she was 14. During their courtship, they took turns: She approached him. He led on the dance floor. She kissed him first. Eventually, he proposed.
Walda said she and Vincent were told they were “too young to know what love is,” and that they wouldn’t last. In fact, they consider “Too Young” by Nat King Cole to be their song. “We had the last laugh,” Walda said.
The Corazons have been married for 65 years. July 5, 1953, marked the beginning of Vincent and Walda’s first adventure. They would go on to take many more as they traveled the world together _ but only after establishing the foundation that led to over six decades of marriage.
“I think that your husband or your wife should be your best friend,” said Walda, 85. “You should look at each other in that way.” “OK, buddy,” said Vincent, 87. Walda smiled. “You should have a sense of humor when you need it, but most important is always respect one another,” she said. “If you lose respect for each other, it’s over I think.”
The couple says that after tying the knot and moving to North Bellmore in 1961, they learned about marriage as they went along. For example, Vincent knows that finances can become a strain on young relationships. He worked two full-time jobs: by day, he taught high school physical education (and later science, after earning his master’s degree in biology from Columbia University in 1957).
After that, he’d head over to the Police Athletic League Recreation Center, where he assisted with after-school sports activities for children. Walda worked as a secretary in Nassau Community College’s Nursing Department. “We didn’t have any cars, we didn’t go on vacations,” Vincent said. “We had to understand that it was a big factor in us being able to stay together because I had to work two, three jobs during the year, and then I worked every summer when I was off. I worked at a camp during the summer. So finances were important.”
The Corazons both retired in 1988, and have since taken many trips together. “We went on our first vacation when we had been married 25 years,” Vincent said. The couple’s adventures include scuba diving in Punta Cana, sailing from New York to Florida, and learning to ski in their 40s.
They also treasure their vacations with their children _ the first one they ever took as a family was to Puerto Rico. Vincent and Walda raised two sons and a daughter together, and also have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Walda says one of the most essential pieces of advice she would give a newlywed couple is to help each other out whenever possible. “Share the responsibilities of housekeeping and taking care of children, the whole thing,” she said. “Share it together.”
Gerald and Amelia Mullen
Gerald and Amelia Mullen first met at Gerald’s brother’s wedding, where Amelia’s brother was the best man. Three years later, in the summer of 1968, Gerald and Amelia Mullen had a wedding of their own they tied the knot at the Kelly Temple Church of God in Christ in Harlem.
After receiving well wishes from family and friends, the couple climbed into their limousine, excited to begin their new life together. Amelia’s cousin saw the couple off, and as they were leaving he asked her, “So, where are you going to live?” Amelia and Gerald hadn’t thought about homeownership yet.
“We’re gonna get an apartment in Brooklyn,” Amelia remembers replying. Her cousin said the couple should be saving up to buy a house, adding that they should have been asking their family to pitch in and help pay for it.
The Mullens didn’t take that route. “I tell my own children that old cliche: You have to crawl before you can walk,” said Amelia, 72. “Everything looks rosy now, but it’s the baby steps. And you can’t take your partner for granted.” The Mullens skipped their honeymoon to get back to their jobs.
After about six years living in Brooklyn, they moved to their home in Roosevelt and have been there ever since. Gerald and Amelia celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. After three decades of hard work, Gerald and Amelia retired from the Department of Sanitation and teaching, respectively. Suddenly, the couple had plenty of time to spend together. Gerald calls this period of their lives a wake-up call. “It got good for us; we got closer,” said Gerald, 73. “You’re learning each other’s little things that you didn’t know about them before.”
For example, Amelia figured out how “orderly” her husband is. “He does the laundry and he does it more efficiently than I do, and he does it in a way that it’s like you’re sending your clothes out to the cleaners,” she said with a grin. Gerald says it’s important for couples to “sit and talk a lot” and learn to understand each other, just like he and Amelia do. Patience is key.“Don’t give up with the first argument,” he said. “If you don’t have something to argue about, you’re never going to understand each other.”
“It’s also about a support system,” Amelia added. “I think you have to endure things between you. A lot of times you want to be open with someone, but you have to find someone that you trust when you talk about the concerns of your marriage.”Nowadays, the Mullens take vacations whenever they can. Some of their favorite destinations are Paris, Madrid and Aruba. “It’s like our honeymoon,” Gerald said with a laugh.
JIM AND DIANNE JACKMAN
Jim and Dianne Jackman met when they were in eighth grade, going to school together in Howard Beach, Queens. They were the best of friends, and for a while, that was all they were. Over the years, Dianne would confide in Jim about her boyfriends.
In 1967, Jim joined the National Guard and was stationed in Fort Dix _ not too far from Dianne’s steady boyfriend at the time. It was around this time that Jim started to feel differently about his pal Dianne. “I started to realize that I didn’t like the idea of her dating somebody else,” said Jim, now 75.
When he got back to Howard Beach, he and Dianne started spending more time together. Their romance was a whirlwind, since they had already known each other for so many years.
“It was always very organized,” Jim said. “We sort of just blended together, like it was always supposed to be.”
Dianne, now 73, said she was surprised by his proposal.
“It wasn’t the way people get engaged now with the big fanfare,” she said. “We were at my kitchen table and he handed me the ring.”
Why was she so surprised? It was Feb. 9 _ she had expected the ring on Valentine’s Day.“I did it on the ninth just to throw her off a little bit!” said Jim.
Before retiring, Jim served as a NYPD officer for 16 years. Dianne worked as a certified teaching assistant with the Valley Stream Central High School district for 19 years.
Along the way, they raised two sons and now have six grandchildren. They reside in Manorville, often taking walks together along the pond by their home. Looking back on 50 years together, the Jackmans say that a happy marriage is built on patience, realistic expectations and transparency.
“I don’t think there’s really a secret,” Dianne said. “I think it’s work, understanding, putting yourself in the other person’s position.
Jim loves sports. I would get up at a football game at the wrong time and root for the wrong team, I did do that. But I know it means a lot to him.” So Dianne planned a special trip for Jim, a baseball fanatic _ this summer, they will tour five ballparks all over the country, including Wrigley Field, one of his favorites.
Dianne added that she’s learned a lot about marriage from her parents, Edna and Walter Steiger. They were married for 78 years before Walter passed away at 97. Edna will turn 101 in March. “I thought it was normal, until maybe recently, to have parents just doing everything,” she said. “They did their gardening and my father drove until the day he died, did all the grocery shopping and the cooking, and it was just normal for me.”
Jim echoed that sentiment, adding his advice for newlywed couples: “Always remember that your family is your life, and you build around your life.” The Jackmans babysit their grandchildren, even on Valentine’s Day. But they don’t mind. Said Dianne, “We celebrate every day, really.”
(c)2019 Newsday Visit Newsday at www.newsday.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Dover, Delaware – The Modern Maturity Center celebrates 50 years of service this year. Like all great accomplishments, the Center began with a vision. In 1968 there wasn’t any such facility in Dover, but as the older population increased, a group of volunteers taking a class on aging saw the need for just such a gathering place. On March 5, 1969, the Modern Maturity Center was officially incorporated.
The center had its beginnings in a rented church on Greenhill Avenue. Less than two years later there was a need for a larger building, and in the fall of 1970 a house was purchased at 2 South Bradford Street. Beginning with a vision, a dedicated Board of Directors and an untiring staff began the task of transforming a small senior center into what has become the largest such facility of its kind in Delaware.
Step by well planned step, the vision become a reality. In 1972 the Center received funding through the Division of Aging for its first county-wide program, Telephone Reassurance. This was followed by funding for the Senior Volunteer Program, RSVP, and MANNA, the Center’s nutrition program.
During its four-year growth period between 1969 and 1973, services became the Center’s focal point for older adults. Membership was growing and now the house on Bradford Street was not large enough to comfortably accommodate the needs of all its members.
In 1976, the same building at 18 Greenhill Avenue, where the Center first began, was purchased, and in 1980 it was renovated and enlarged to include a second story. A countywide employment program was added to services sponsored by the Center, followed by Case Management and Adult Day Care.
By 1984 the Board of Directors once again realized that still a larger facility was needed to meet the growing needs of the ever-increasing membership. Six years later, in 1990, the present basic structure on Forrest Avenue was completed.
But the vision didn’t stop there. At the Center’s 30th anniversary celebration there were groundbreaking ceremonies for a new three million dollar annex, including an additional two hundred and fifty parking spaces.
The annex expanded the day care program “Daybreak.” With its emphasis on wellness, the Center added a thirty by fifty-five foot therapeutic and recreational swimming pool, along with a fitness center. Today, the rest of the new space is multi-purpose and provides areas for programs such as line dancing, large assemblies, and special events.
MMC believes that its main purpose is to provide services for seniors, with the goal of allowing them to age in place. To this end, in 2005, MMC opened a medical facility on their campus that houses the Hope Medical Clinic, as well as physical therapy services and a medical practice – Lifespan Medical Services. In 2011, the space was further expanded to provide more space for the adult day service program, offices for the Caregiver Resource Center, expanded space for the Hope Clinic to provide minor day surgery and new space for Lifespan. The year 2011 also saw the introduction of an Early Memory Loss program – Front Porch – the first of its kind in Delaware providing support for those dealing with the early stages of Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.
According to President/CEO Carolyn Fredricks, “The Modern Maturity’s success and popularity can be attributed to the many caring people working harmoniously together. From Board of Directors to the core of dedicated employees, the RSVP’S thousand volunteers who give selflessly of their time, and most of all the thousands of members, the Modern Maturity Center is a thriving, multi-faceted organization with always an eye toward the future.”
MMC now provides thousands of older adults with social, recreation, nutrition, fitness, education and transportation programs; employment training; volunteer services; a caregiver resource center; early memory loss program; and adult day services at its campus on Forrest Ave. in Dover.