When is the last time you felt like you were at the top of your mental game?
There are a lot of positives that go with aging—we accumulate life experiences and we discover wisdom. In fact, getting older should be a journey of actualization, one where we become the most accomplished versions of ourselves.
But that is pretty hard to do when you feel your mind slowing down day by day.
Maybe it started in your 40s or your 50s. If you were lucky, it might not strike until your 60s. For a lot of us, it begins clear back in our 30s or even before.
It usually starts small—so small in fact that you hardly notice it. One day you wake up and head to the office and you just can’t concentrate. Your thoughts feel slow, heavy. Trying to see the way to a solution is like peering through a dense fog.
But then it happens again a few days later. And again…
Eventually one morning you wake up and realize it has been years since you felt like yourself. It takes so much more effort than it did before to string thoughts together. Your clarity is gone, you can never focus for more than two seconds at a time, and penetrating insights have been replaced by a swamp of distraction, confusion, and forgetfulness. Your thoughts feel frayed, worn—like ragged fabric flapping in the breeze.
It’s intolerable. And for many people, this is a normal part of healthy aging. But not always…
The reality is that cognitive impairment and dementia are also on the rise, and sometimes symptoms of forgetfulness and confusion are not so innocuous. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. By the middle of this century, that is expected to grow to every 33 seconds.
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One in nine people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s.
One in three seniors die of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Think about that for a moment. This disease which robs people not only of their capacity for clear thinking, but of their very identities, is already an epidemic—and it is steadily getting worse as at an alarming rate.
Is There a Cure to Dementia?
Unfortunately, scientists’ understanding of dementia is still fairly limited. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are degenerative and fatal.
Right now there is no cure.
None of this means you should panic the first time you put your keys somewhere silly or you forget so-and-so’s name. Nor does a general loss of mental sharpness necessarily indicate you are on the way to cognitive impairment.
But it does mean that you should be serious about taking care of your brain health.
This isn’t just about quality of life when you are young—in your 30s or 40s or 50s—it is about retaining your clear thinking and your identity going into your senior years.