Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Delaying the Arrival of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Today I feel better about my relentless move through the ages.

My 20s passed quickly, engrossed with college and grad school, getting married, having two children. Then it was on to the 30s, busy years raising kids, relocating twice, grad school (again), working…and before I knew it I turned 40. Kids, work, vacations, volunteer activities, graduations, family events all clustered in the 1990s, my 40s decade.

Y2K came and went and my world, along with the rest of the world, survived the computer meltdown bust. I entered the new century as a quinquagenarian, a long, sophisticated, unpronounceable word meaning a person 50 years old, or between the ages of 50 and 60.

My boys married and began having babies, and hub and I became grandparents. Downsizing, family events, work filled the days and the years zoomed by. 

Suddenly I turned 60. I became a sexagenarian, a much cooler sounding word than quinquagenarian. Another relocation, retirement, more grandkids, travel, family, old friends and new, volunteer activities, writing, now consume my time and the days pass quickly.

I keep an electronic file of articles for future reading. The file grows and some pieces will never be read, but one item caught my eye this morning as I scanned the list when relegating another story to the must-read pile.

It was very short but made my day.

The article summarized a scientific study that concluded grandparents who babysit their grandkids delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The study was done in Australia, but I bet grandparents around the world, including American grands, would duplicate the results. Including hub and me.

The study made clear being a full-time babysitter, five days a week, does not bode well for grands. But babysitting one or two days a week is ideal. The conclusion reached is grandkids are good for the older generation – in moderation.

Hub and I do not grandsit every week. The kids live too far away. But we do it regularly enough, I believe, to put ourselves on the side of grands deferring at least two of the evils of aging.

And that is why I feel better today about my aging progression than I did yesterday…
My 91-year-old Mom with her 5-year-old great granddaughter.
She is a perfect example of how grand sitting puts cognitive impairment on hold.

Hub and I returned from our latest grandsitting and visitation adventure tired, a little sore from sitting in the car for hours, and a bit rounder from too much pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake.

The instructor explaining to four and five-year-olds the
intricacies of the game of Capture the Flag at our
granddaughter's birthday party.
Here is a peek in pictures from five days with three grandkids and two pooped parents. 
An afternoon blueberry picking
Visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
An afternoon at the trampoline gym.