March is Brain Health Awareness month in New Zealand. But what’s awareness without action? Brain Health Awareness is a jolly good thing, it’s a breakthrough — but what are you personally going to do with that awareness? Sit there and worry about it? That feels terrible. That’s what most of us do: sit there and worry about dementia. And that feels terrible.
Here’s how Dementia NZ suggests we start to deal with that lurking anxiety about dementia in March:
- Start one new tiny habit (that’s an easy way to change your own behaviour).
- Know that you’re not alone: plenty of other people will be doing the same thing at the same time. You’ll be part of a group of like-minded people.
- Get pledges from your friends and family for your chosen challenge: even more support for you!
- Raise money for dementia care at the same time.
This seems like a great idea to me.
Don’t just know what to do — do it!
We know exactly what lifestyle changes can delay or prevent dementia. Diet, exercise, mental activity, socialising, not smoking, not drinking — there’s no mystery today and there’s a growing mountain of research. No guarantees, obviously, but the price is small— a wee bit of effort. And the benefits are great, if we just start improving even one of those factors in our life. And yet many people feel so fatalistic and fearful about dementia that they can’t make themselves take that first little change to their own lifestyle.
I sound very sure of myself, don’t I? Bossy, actually. So sorry. But you see I did something similar myself when I was 75. I made lots of tiny changes in my lifestyle and that turned me from a person scared of aging and scared of dementia into someone much stronger and braver and happier. I took control of what I could control, that was the thing. Since then, nothing about old age seems scary any more. That’s why I think Steps For Dementia is such a great idea.
Anyway, go straight to the Dementia NZ website for the full story. It’s an easy challenge. Look, doing something is 100 per cent better than doing nothing. Let’s move beyond brain health awareness to brain health action — for ourselves, our families and friends, and the community. (And, not least, the health system and the economy.) And don’t be hard on yourself. Pick something easy and do it for a month. Do it with a friend. You might be surprised at what a difference it makesFollow Write Into Life