Her guests ranged from a woman diagnosed at age 46 with early Alzheimer's to actor Victor Garber, who because of his family history (his parents both died of Alzheimer's) is doing all he can to promote cures for the disease. In addition, Katie featured several experts, including Gary Small, author of "The Memory Prescription: Dr. Gary Small's 14-Day Plan to Keep Your Brain and Body Young" (click for details).
Here's what you need to know about memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, say Katie's experts:
- You can take steps to keep your brain sharp and reduce your risk of memory loss. Playing brain games can make a difference. A specialist from the brain game company Lumosity explained that different types of games can actually improve your memory and ability to focus.
- Eat right. For example, the best protein for your brain is wild salmon. The best fruit choices: Blueberries and strawberries. And for the most nutritional bang for your buck when you're eating out, choose Indian food because of the spices.
Katie also offered tips for caregivers, noting the challenges that they face. Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, advises following these guidelines:
- Do the best that you can rather than seeking for perfection.
- Set up consistent routines.
- Model the emotions that you want: Seek to be happy.
- Let others help you.
- "When caring for people with dementia, focus on three simple things: Are they safe, happy, and pain free?"
And a personal note as a daughter who, after hoping to keep her mother living in her own home forever, had to make the decision to find a residential care facility specializing in Alzheimer's: Becoming the "parent" to your parents is perhaps one of the most challenging responsibilities imaginable. You are required to make health care decisions, financial decisions and related decisions while seeking to balance emotions with reality. There are no right answers; there are no wrong answers. And as Lori says, Safety, happiness and relief from pain become the keys.