RANCHO SANTA FE — The RSF Library Guild partnered with the San Diego and Imperial chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in an effort to educate individuals about the disease.
The event was hosted at the RSF library.
The free series, which started on Sept. 18, will have others topics regarding Alzheimer’s in the following months.
After Susan Applebee of the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild welcomed everyone, Kelly Rein, MSW, of the Alzheimer’s Association took center stage. Rein is one of the social workers at the chapter.
Her talk was entitled, “Maximizing Your Brain Health.”
“I have to commend you and give you a round of applause for spending time with us today,” she said, to a crowded room.
While Alzheimer’s is on the rise, she said, the good news is there is a lot that people can do to help protect their brains now. And this includes someone living with this disease.
Rein highlighted that nearly 60,000 people were living with dementia in San Diego and Imperial County.
“So I think the important thing to know from this is that you’re not alone,” she said, adding how there are more than 150,000 family caregivers. “It’s really important in this journey with this diagnosis that you connect to others, even if it’s just asking information.”
Rein went on to say that one of nine people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s; and, after the age of 85 it increases to 1 in 3.
The disease is age significant. Every 67 seconds, another American is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Knowing this, Rein said, it is best to be prepared.
There are four “Brain Healthy Lifestyles,” also called the “Big 4,” which was part of the presentation: physical exercise, nutrition, mental exercise, and social connections.
“One of the most important things that we know with Alzheimer’s and general body health is that there is a big heart-head connection,” Rein said.
With each heartbeat, about 25 percent of blood is carried via the arteries. According to Rein, having healthy, nutritious blood pumping through the body is essential to promote strong brain cells, healthy arteries and capillaries.
Keeping active to reduce the risk of stroke is part of that equation.
“There are studies that show that even 30 minutes of walking five times a week can reduce your risk of dementia by half,” she said. As well, other fun exercises may include yoga, swimming, gardening, and dancing.
Having a healthy heart means keeping blood pressure low and weighing in at a healthy number.
“Also those that are at risk for diabetes, pre-diabetic or have diabetes are also at a significant increased risk to develop dementia,” she said. If one can prevent getting diabetes through life-style changes this is highly important; and, if one has diabetes, following their doctor’s orders regarding diet, exercise, and medication is imperative.
And the cessation of smoking is also on the healthy heart roster.
For nutrition, the list of items Rein mentioned were foods which were dark, green leafy vegetables and other foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid and vitamins E, C, and B.
Mental exercises, Rein said, such as puzzles, writing, taking classes and playing a new instrument are fantastic.
And remaining social was another important facet.
“It may just be visiting with your neighbors, friends or family,” she said, noting how also giving back to the community adds value to one’s life.
Rein said by finding and maintaining social connections, the chances of dementia can be reduced while it adds another level of joy to life.
To learn more about the other upcoming free series Oct. 16 and Nov. 13 call 1-800-272-3900 or alz.org/sandiego .