Recent statistics indicate there are approximately 4 million Americans affected. Currently, the population in this country is approximately 35 million individuals over age 65. To put it another way, there are about 31 million currently not impacted by Alzheimer’s. Adding to these stats, though, are those 200, 000 folks under 65 mentioned last time. So as I said: ”approximately”.
My point is that as devastating as it can be, it is definitely not an absolute for all of us. And since the major risk factors are aging and family history, there appears to be little we can do. So what can we do?
We can worry...sure.
We can research if we’re concerned, or taking care of someone already struggling with Alzheimer’s. Definitely.
We can also live.
The old advice of trying to eat more healthy, exercising regularly, staying involved and maintaining mental activity are all great things we can do. We’ve been told this over and over, and somewhere along the aging trail, we probably should try it. Crossword puzzles, continuing to learn new information, taking up new hobbies, etc, will certainly help keep us sharp.
A lifestyle of just me and my TV…not so much.
One of the easiest traps to fall into as we age is isolation. Sometimes, this is a choice. Sometimes it’s a situation we find ourselves in whether we like it or not. Either way, not interacting cannot only get lonely, but can prevent us from the aforementioned activities. People tend to make us think, stay alert and even laugh.
Family’s good for that sometimes. And family may even be prevailed upon to help you get out and about if you aren’t able to on your own. OK. Out and about where? Depends on what you think would work for you. Since we’re talking about socialization, how about a couple suggestions? Church and/or fraternal organizations, such as Elks, Lions, and so on? Are you a Veteran? What about the VFW or American Legion?
Maybe chatting over a meal would be a good place to start. There are congregate meal sites in both north and south county. A lot of folks having lunch and conversation. In Ilwaco, it would be at the Ilwaco Community Building (next to the library), and for more information, call 642 3990. In Raymond, it’s the Pacific County Senior Center, at 942 5739.
Want to do something, but skip the meal part? Each of these sites also have periodic activities available, so give them a call and see what they’re up to. Another place to check out is the Peninsula Senior Center, at 665 3999. They have monthly activities that range from Tai Chi to card games, crafts, and so on. You can get an annual membership for $12, and can get as involved as you want to be. There also trips, informational meetings and other activities.
Sometimes isolation and socialization are just words on a page. Most of the time, they’re realities. If you decide to make a choice though, choose the latter.
You might even get a chance to laugh!
Information & Assistance:Long Beach: 642-3634, 888-571-6558; Raymond: 942-2177, 888- 571-6557; O3A: www.o3a.org
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.hometowndebate.com 4/4/13. If you would like to respond to this story go to hometowndebate.com