OUT ON A LIMB: I’m plotting a healthy course for my golden years

Although I like to think of myself as middle-aged, the likelihood of me living to 104 is pretty slim

Sunday’s Walk for Memories hit home for me because, well, I’m not as young as  I used to be. None of us are.

Although I like to think of myself as middle-aged, the likelihood of me living to 104 is pretty slim. I was raised on the Scottish diet for the first 18 years of my life. I’m doomed. Vegetable? What’s that?

Sunday’s event was a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. and included an appearance by the plucky Mae Noble who is the kind of person that you can’t help but cheer for. Mae has become our region’s spokesperson for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease which she and an alarmingly high number of her family are struggling with.

And many across the country are. It’s estimated that 500,000 Canadians are dealing with dementia. But aging is not necessarily about Alzheimer’s – it isn’t just a disease of the elderly.

The talk of aging and dementia, which we all fear, has been on my mind, particularly after I attended a talk in the fall at the (appropriately) aging Willow Point Hall by Gary Anaka an aging specialist. I believe it was entitled Brain Wellness – The Secrets for Longevity! Anaka has written a great little book that has become like a handbook on the subject. It’s called  Brain Wellness – The Secrets for Longevity : Discover How to Maintain your Brain Plasticity for Life : the New Amazing Frontier of Hope. That’s what was great about Anaka’s presentation, it provided tips, a blueprint, on not only how to forestall the effects of aging, but reverse them in some cases.

It’s no big secret. It all comes down to the same health tips for any age: eat more fruits and vegetables; exercise regularly; stimulate your brain with good activities (Bach not Black Sabbath; crosswords not hours of sitting in front of the T.V.); and did I say exercise already?

Anaka calls himself a brain coach and his presentation is certainly uplifting without being pseudo-cultish. It’s all science and it emphasizes how much we’ve learned about aging in the last 20 years or so (and how much more we need to know).

There’s actually been a lot of practical information uncovered. Anaka provides 20 brain smart lifestyle choices to prevent aging and they’re along the lines of my preview list above. Next time he’s in town – and I believe he will be brought back – you should go check him out. He’ll give you some tools to grow older gracefully.

Anaka said and it was also mentioned at Sunday’s Walk for Memories that Canada is on the cusp of a dementia crisis and our health system is not ready for it. Baby boomers are entering their senior years and the sheer numbers just dictate that the incidence of dementia is going to be high. Tie into that the lack of knowledge we’ve had up until a few years ago about how to age wisely, we’re facing a big crunch.

But aging doesn’t have to be about dementia. Excuse me, I’m going for a walk.