The questions came from around the room, each as important as the last one:
“What’s the difference between, ‘I’m getting older and I just forget’ versus, ‘Do I have dementia?’”
“Can you have dementia and not have Alzheimer’s Disease?”
The topic for today’s Wellness Wednesdays women’s support group meeting was “Brain Health,” featuring guest speaker Treena Horton, program coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter, leading two dozen program participants through an informative and interactive discussion
Horton discussed with the women the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, such as changes in mood or personality, challenges in planning or solving programs, decreased poor judgement and new problems with words in speaking or writing.
“Dementia is the umbrella term of cognitive decline, memory loss,” she said. “Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that is destroying those nerve cells.”
Programming materials distributed included a flyer on “ways to love your brain,” which includes engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise, continued learning (hitting the books), quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.
One of the participants shared a story about her father, whom she said suffered from dementia as a result of alcohol abuse.
“It was hard watching my father who went from being a big strong man to needing to depend on us,” she said. “It was heartbreaking to see him break down like that. He passed at 76.”
Horton said she was grateful to meet with the Wellness Wednesdays group, which is led by program facilitator Alexis Harvey of the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic and is held monthly at the Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center. SAY Detroit thanks Highland Park Mayor Glenda McDonald for stopping by and visiting the program.
“I thought this group was very interactive, and I really like that,” Horton said. “They seem like very active seniors — and I wanted to make sure they all know that it’s not too late to promote healthy living for your brain and body”
Next month’s Wellness Wednesdays is March 15.The topic is Women’s History Month and celebrating the women who tell their stories. The featured guest speaker is Carmen Harlan. Registration is limited and can be secured only by calling 586-345-0225.