Preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Part 2 – Health & Wellness Wednesday

Part 1 of Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease covered a major study published in the Journal of New England Medicine, which revealed fascinating findings about certain leisure activities that reduce our risks of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Lynn Kelley, dementia

Image courtesy of Pixabay

As if playing board games, reading, engaging in small detail crafts, learning a new skill, or learning to play a musical instrument didn’t offer a nice variety of choices to help ward off Alzheimer’s, the number one biggie turned out to be dancing, specifically ballroom dancing.

Lynn Kelley, preventing Alzheimer's Part 2

The rapid-fire response required for following a partner while engaging in ballroom dancing seems to explain why it’s so good for our brains. Changing partners also helps because we have to adjust to dancing with a different person.

Dancing is my passion, and I’d love to learn ballroom dancing someday, but first I need to focus on the beginning tap dance class I signed up for  two weeks ago.

Lynn Kelley, Preventing Alzheimer's and Dementia Part 2

Image courtesy of Pixabay

In Part 1creative thinking and decision making are also listed as being helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Here’s another activity I was thrilled to learn can help fight Alzheimer’s. A November 12, 2013 article in the Daily News reported a four-month study done at a care facility showed singing helped fight dementia. Basically, singing favorites like show tunes in The Wizard of Oz, OklahomaThe Sound of Music, and more.

That article is more than four years old, yet most people I know have never heard about singing being helpful in fighting dementia. I hope you will share this knowledge with others.

Lynn Kelley, Preventing Alzheimer's and Dementia Part 2

A little bird told me . . .

Below is a YouTube video with the song Summer Nights, one of my favorites from the movie Greece. It’s got the lyrics, so sing along and learn the words if you don’t already know them. Learning new songs is going to pay off for you in the long run.

If you don’t like to sing or you think you can’t sing, don’t let that stop you. Sing in your car or when you’re alone, or sing in a soft voice. Just sing in some way, somehow, in whatever creative way you can come up with to overcome your first inclination to poo-poo this idea.

Patients with moderate to severe dementia showed far more improvement over those who only listened to the songs.

According to Jane Flinn, a scientist who participated in the study, “Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

Lynn Kelley, dementia

Image courtesy of Pixabay

I agree. Singing is a sweet, pleasant way for those who suffer Alzheimer’s or dementia to reconnect with something from their past. Singing a favorite song learned earlier in life seemed to ignite hidden memories in those patients.

An article in the August 31, 2016 issue of Daily Mail by Neuropsychologist Catherine Loveday covers why SINGING can help battle dementia. “Could music provide an important channel of communication when so many other abilities are failing?

“The surprising thing about music is that, contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually learn songs particularly easily. However, once those memories are formed, they become exceptionally robust and easily accessible.”

The article also states, “Jorn-Henrick Jacobsen and his colleagues found that memories of old songs activate very specific areas of the brain.”

Lynn Kelley, Preventing Alzheimer's and Dementia Part 2

All this information is interesting and inspiring to me. It gives me hope that we can take action to fight these brain-destroying diseases. So, singing and dancing can help me prevent Alzheimer’s? Twist my arm! Haha!

Have fun while fighting Alzheimer’s! Who woulda thunk?

Lynn Kelley, Preventing Alzheimer's and Dementia Part 2

This is me when I’m 120 years old after singing and dancing my way through the second half of life.

More fun: In case the song Summer Nights in the above video isn’t one you care to learn, perhaps this one will appeal to you, Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.

If this song isn’t for you, go on YouTube and find some videos of songs you’d like to learn, then sing your heart out.

My grandmother never sang. It seems at some point in her life someone told her she couldn’t sing, so she stopped. As a kid, I wouldn’t have cared if she could carry a tune. It would have been fun to sing with her. I love to sing with my grand darlings.

Confession Time

I can’t sing so great myself. My own kids used to tell me I couldn’t sing. Too bad for them because I kept singing anyway!

Lynn Kelley, Preventing Alzheimer's Part 2

Keep on singing!

Another activity which may prevent Alzheimer’s is juggling. If you want to learn to juggle, read my post on the Benefits of Juggling.

Image courtesy of Mohamed Hassan at Pixabay

According to the January 2004 issue of Nature magazine, juggling increases gray matter. Just practicing the movements improves your brain and coordination even before you succeed.

Good News For Pets

A comment from Amy Shojai, CABC in response to Part 1 said, “Interestingly, the same precautions reduce the risks for dogs and cats! (my area of expertise *s*) Practicing mind-stimulating games like tricks, or having cats ‘hunt’ for their hidden bowl of kibble, keeps their brains nimble. And…maybe music (since my dog used to howl when I sang or played my instruments, LOL!).”

Isn’t that neat? Thanks for sharing that with us, Amy.

This is an ongoing series, so as I find more info, I’ll write about it. There are some foods that are good for the brain, so we’ll cover those in a future Health & Wellness Wednesday post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you like to sing? What’s your favorite song? Do you know someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Do you know how to juggle?

If you’d like to receive future posts, you can subscribe by email in the sidebar under the welcome video.

Thanks for stopping by!

Daily News – Singing Show Tunes Helps Fight Off Dementia

Why SINGING can help battle dementia,

Lynn Kelley, Preventing Alzheimer's and Dementia Part 2

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4 Responses to Preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Part 2 – Health & Wellness Wednesday

  1. Pambelina says:

    Very informative! Who would have thought that singing could benefit the brain so much? And yes, sing with the children, because they do not care if we have a good voice or not. They just think that singing is way to express happiness, and I believe it is.

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      The things they’re discovering about the brain is fascinating. Singing is easy and we don’t have to be able to carry a tune. I agree it’s important for children. I bet it helps their developing brains and it’s definitely good for the soul. Can pull us out of a blue mood in a snap! Thanks for stopping by, Pambelina!

  2. Pingback: Preventing Alzheimer's Part 1 - Health and Wellness Wednesday - Activities to Prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia, Improve Memory and Brain Function and Have Fun While Reducing Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia - Major St

  3. Yvette Carol says:

    Yes, I’ve heard it said somewhere, that singing is really good for your overall health, so there must be something in it. My youngest sings all the time. And my nephew, who boards here, always sings while he’s in the shower!
    I love the crazy photos of you in your posts, Lynnie 🙂

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