Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

Why Alzheimer's Disease Is a Concern For Baby Boomers

It has happened. Yes, baby boomers across North America have reached the age of 65. What does this mean exactly? Among other things, it signals an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Why? While this degenerative brain disease can affect men and women of varying ages, it occurs most often in people who are over the age of 65. The symptoms can range from memory loss to forgetfulness, difficulty coming up with the right words to use, mood swings, changes in behaviour, and more. Since there is no known cure, it's pretty obvious why baby boomers are more than a little concerned.

Alzheimer's disease already affects millions of people worldwide. Over time it can rob patients of their cherished memories and even their independence. The reality is that this disease is slow, painful, and difficult for both those affected and their loved ones. By the year 2030 it is estimated that the worldwide total of Alzheimer's patients will soar from 44 million to 76 million. Even more troubling? One out of every eight baby boomers will be diagnosed with the disease.

All is not lost. Even though baby boomers are currently at a higher age risk to develop Alzheimer's disease, there are still plenty things that you can do. Preventative measures can thwart the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms - or even slow down the progression of the disease. Now is the time for baby boomers to make changes to their daily routine. A few modifications to diet and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of becoming that one out of eight.

Where should you start? If you are over the age 65 - or even if you're not quite there yet - it is time to re-think your diet. Avoiding processed or fatty foods isn't just good for your heart and overall level of health, but has also been found to ward off brain diseases like Alzheimer's. Try adding in dark coloured vegetables, fruits with anti-oxidants, and following a Mediterranean diet as much as possible. These foods have been found to protect your brain cells and boost memory function.

In addition to changing up your diet, it is also important to make exercise a priority in your life. Studies have found that seniors who exercised regularly had a reduced chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, dementia, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Go for a walk every day, lift weights a few times a week, and do what you can to stay active. It's good for your body and your brain! You will also want to think about mental exercises. When you stimulate your brain through activities like crossword puzzles, brainteasers, and learning new skills, your brain is forced to work in a different way. That keeps your brain sharp and strengthens the connection between your memory pathways.

Are you part of the baby boomer generation? Then it is time to think about prevention. A healthy diet and regular physical (and mental) exercise may be able to eliminate or slow down the symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders. Don't live in fear.... start taking action today.