ADI 2011 Toronto Take-aways

The Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 26 – 29. My three biggest take-aways from the conference were:
A. We are able to significantly reduce our risk for this disease and many other chronic diseases if we make nutritional choices that align with a Mediterranean diet (fruits, veggies, grains, fish) and exercise (cardio and strength exercises) 30 minutes daily.
B. Disenfranchised grief is common among long-term caregivers journeying with a loved one living with dementia. Over months and years multiple losses occur and each loss is grieved. As our friends and family members give care to persons with dementia, it is important to remember that while giving care, they are also likely grieving. It is helpful to honor this fact and allow caregivers to simply voice their feelings of grief and loss throughout the long-term caregiving journey.
C. Persons living with dementia are a diverse group. People as young as 30 and 40 are living with a form of dementia. Many people are living years with a mild stage of cognitive impairment and appear completely healthy. We must remember that dementia is a form of progressive cognitive impairment affecting brain function, and may have no or very few physical symptoms for a number of years. DASNI is the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International, an international online support network for persons living with dementia that has been a tremendous source of information, hope and fellowship for people living with this disease.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry and action,
~ Mary

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