I am continually reminded about the sad fact that Alzheimer’s disease strikes more than five million Americans. And it seems each week new stores arise about the tragic and challenging impact dementia is having on people we know and love.
Suggestions on Prevention
While we hope researchers will find a cure of Alzheimer’s, I was reminded of several ways a person can prevent or delay the onset of dementia. Suggestions include:
- Eat healthy foods for the brain. This means limiting unhealthy snacks and sugars, and having a healthy diet of proteins, grains, vegetables and fruit. In addition foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are helpful, such as cod and salmon.
- Stay physically and social active. Increasing the oxygen supply to the brain and participating in social activities elevates one’s mood.
- Also mentioned are personal activities that can strengthen the brain itself. These activities include doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, or taking an educational class in cooking, learning a new language, or hobbies such as bird watching. All of these challenge and form new connection in the brain.
- Another suggestion is to intentionally visualize objects. It seems this right-brain activity awakens and activates more areas of the brain than words alone. Remember the saying, “a picture of worth a thousand words”? Implied in research is the neurological phenomenon that a while language is based upon letters and word concepts, a visual “thought” of an apple, cabin, oceans, and child activies so much more in the brain. So the suggestion was to say and see your grocery list, imagine the route you will drive to the grocery store and picture who you count as your family and dear friends.
Read Your Bible
This actually is my addition to what research on dementia prevention has implied. If visualizing is helpful from a medical standpoint, then where else do we find things to picture and imagine? I suggest the Bible. So here is number five:
- Read the Book of Psalms in a visual way. Here are a few examples:
Consider the images from Psalms 121. As you read, imagine God as a protector/parent who watches over you and I in a very loving, protective way. See how visual this passage can become for you:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalms 121: 1-8
Now try visualizing the richness, color and love of the following examples:
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
I think research today is affirming how the Bible has communicated God’s heart and presence to us for thousands of years. My suggestion is from both a medical, cognitive and spiritual perspective to read two Psalms a day in the morning and let me know how you are doing.
Christian counselor Dr. Douglas Frey believes in Biblical principles and bringing forth God’s grace in meetings and sessions. Call or email Douglas Frey Ph.D. (952-920-2789). He is a licensed Christian counselor serving individuals and families in Eden Prairie and nearby Chanhassen, Chaska, Shakopee, Minneapolis, Edina, Minnetonka and other Western Suburbs.