GREENSBORO, N.C. — According to the Alzheimer’s Association in North Carolina, more than 180,000 North Carolinians are living with Alzheimer’s and more than 385,000 family and friends are serving as their caregivers.
June 1 kicks off Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.
Health experts say there are steps that can be taken now to implement good brain health for the future.
With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out and health restrictions lifting, many Americans are looking forward to resuming their lives like they did pre-pandemic.
Christine John-Fuller, Vice President of Development and Communications for Alzheimer’s Association in North Carolina, said Americans should make brain health an important part of their return to normal.
“It’s important to remember what’s good for the body is good for the brain,” John-Fuller said.
“We’ve had this unprecedented year of stress and anxiety that can cause multiple different health conditions including damage to the brain. You know just the stress and anxiety alone can promote inflammation in the brain, possibly other damaging conditions.”
This includes Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
John-Fuller said recommitting to brain-health basics like diet and exercise can protect cognitive functions as well as unplugging and disconnecting.
“Technology has dominated our world in the last year which has been a great thing to keep us connected, but it’s also something that we haven’t been able to pull away from and has caused fatigue,” John-Fuller explained.
In addition to limiting screen time, John-Fuller said volunteering and helping others is good for the brain.
“There are studies that show helping other individuals that may be going through difficult times can be a very positive health benefit,” John-Fuller said.
“Research shows that helping in crisis can alleviate stress and anxiety.”
John-Fuller also said it’s important people return to normal at their own pace and control their stress before it controls them.
The Alzheimer’s Association is holding a “Healthy Brain, Healthy Body, Healthy You Symposium” June 7-11.
The seven-part series is free and virtual.
Those interested must register online for the sessions.
- Part 1: Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body Overview - June 7
- Part 2: Mindfulness Matters - June 8
- Part 3: Med Instead of Meds: Eating the Mediterranean Way for Better Health - June 9
- Part 4: Gentle Yoga (seated) - June 9
- Part 5: Engaging with Art - June 10
- Part 6: Mediterranean Cooking Demonstration - June 10
- Part 7: Gentle Yoga (Mat) - June 11