My Dad was 88 years old the last time I took him to the doctor for a checkup. His doctor told me that he would easily live to be 100. He had appropriate weight, his blood tests were all normal, he was on no medications. He was in perfect health. But he had one huge disability. My dad suffered from dementia and he was losing his brain, day by day.
My dad was a fun-loving, good humored, kind and generous man. He knew his weaknesses; he had problems remembering, finding words or names, confusion, and at times, not knowing who I was– his wife, his mother or his daughter. He was very aware of his declining brain health. It’s true what they say, dementia doesn’t just take your brain, it also steals your spirit. Not just the patient’s spirit, but those who love them.
At the end of last year, I successfully and proudly completed my certification to become a Certified Brain Health Coach through Dr. Amen and the Amen Clinics. What does brain health mean?
Brain health refers to the ability to remember, learn, plan, concentrate and maintain a clear, active mind. It’s being able to draw on the strengths of your brain—information management, logic, judgement, perspective and wisdom. Simply put, brain health is all about making the most of your brain’s abilities and reducing risks to its health as you age.
Do you realize we can improve our brain at any age? It is not normal to lose our memory or get “brain fog” as we age.
Dementia can start as early as 30-40 years before we see any outward signs or symptoms. In my dad’s case if he would have had a brain SPECT (a form of brain imaging) in his 40’s we would have most likely seen signs of deterioration starting to form.
If I knew then what I know today I could have made simple, easy to incorporate suggestions to help stop the decline of his aging brain. He would have been able to significantly improve his brain function with diet, exercise, supplements and simple forms of stress reduction.
When things began to worsen, he became more difficult for me to deal with, as my dad made the decision to stop eating and drinking. He asked me to stay with him and honor his wishes by not forcing him to eat, drink or take medication. He also requested that be allowed to stay at home in bed, with me as his only care giver. I honored all his requests.
Those days and nights were the longest, hardest and loneliest I have ever experienced. My husband and I were at his bedside holding his hands during his final breath. It was an honor to be there with and for him as he passed quietly and peacefully away
Today my Dad would have celebrated his 95th birthday. One of the most important lessons I learned from him was the importance that brain health plays in our lives. Without it we have nothing.
I am now proud to share my education and knowledge with others to aid them in their brain health journey. My coaching practice has always been about promoting wellness and a holistic sense of health, and in memory of my dad, I am proud to add into my practice a focus on brain health education.
If you are interested in learning more about some of the specifics of brain health, or other personal goals for wellness in your life, I would welcome you to connect with me for a free consultation.
Treasuring your health and safeguarding your brain doesn’t have to wait!