Now Alzheimer's is one of those "dread diseases" of old age, increasingly common in our society. It's reputed to be something everyone will get if they live long enough, that is, if don't die first from some other cause.
That's the standard medical line. We only have Alzheimer's increasing because we live longer and don't die sooner from something else. The line becomes a lie when you look beyond that surface relationships though.
Death from Alzheimer's can be a slow, miserable process. In my Dad's case his health otherwise is still pretty good; he can walk pretty well, talk freely and tell stories from 60+ years ago (over and over again endlessly).
He's been a great father, provider, husband and son, a tireless campaigner for causes he believed in, and very, very generous with his resources. Seeing him decline from Alzheimer's has been painful for us, his children and grandchildren.
But when it came time to try to help him stop the decline of his memory, I found he was just too far gone.
He didn't want to change what he eats. And he doesn't have to.
To be 88, have lived a full, satisfying life. Whatever you think about what comes after, that's not tragedy, that's cause to rejoice.
But his next five or ten years could have been better, I'm convinced. If the end of life doesn't have to mean losing most of your memories and mental function at some point, that would be a good thing.
And in rural northern India, Alzheimer's appears to be almost unknown. So is obesity. And cars that make lots of walking all but unnecessary. And sugar. And eating meat. And almost all foods that constitute the main bulk of the SAD diet.
Of course, it always possible that some "magic bullet" that could be turned into a prescription drug could be responsible. Like something in turmeric.
Silly us. We refuse to see the forest because we're stuck on looking for a comfortable "cure" that makes it so we don't have to change our lives other than take some pills. The trees that obscure our view are our habits and culture.Tough to overcome? You bet. Possible? Absolutely.
People with Alzheimer's deserve a chance to have better lives. My experience tells me it won't happen without broader understanding and support for healthy eating.
Some day. I think it's worth the effort.
|My parents at a cousin's Boxing Day party|