Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer's, symptoms first appear after age 60. It is estimated that 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and it is now the number 6 cause of death in the US. Although Alzheimer's cannot be prevented or reversed, strengthening your cognitive reserve by engaging in stimulating intellectual, social and physical activities can delay or reduce the severity of symptoms.
resources and articles
- Alzheimer's Association (Main Website)
- National Institute on Aging (Main Website)
- Living With Alzheimer's (Blog)
- Alzheimer's and the Social Cure (Brain World)
- Playing Games May Reduce Alzheimer's Pathology (Marbles Blog)
- Alzheimer's Disease: Would You Want to Know? (Marbles Blog)
- The Alzheimer's Project (HBO)
Recent studies have shown that people who engage in intellectual activities such as reading, playing board games, completing crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments or regular social interaction show a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease. This is similar to the theory of cognitive reserve, which states that some life experiences result in more efficient neural functioning which in turn provide the individual with a “cognitive reserve” that delays the onset of dementia manifestations.
What this all means is that intellectual stimulation builds a stronger brain, and a stronger brain is less susceptible to the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Also, it's never too late, or early, to educate yourself about the various other things you can do to pro-actively ward off Alzheimer's disease.
Software programs are the most comprehensive products and have the most science and clinical research into their effectiveness in fighting cognitive decline. Memory games are great for working short term memory skills. Puzzles are perfect for strengthening visual perception as well as manual dexterity. Since word recall may become difficult, word searches and other simple word puzzles, or word games can be recommended.