Protecting against dementia

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Sclass wrote:I read someplace online where an old guy said the problem with getting old is none of your friends are young.
:lol: So true.

My 3 younger sisters and I have long had a mutual support society in old age plan, but we have yet to even enact Step 1 which would be the joint purchase of property in resort area. We figure that if our eventual old age domicile first functions as extended family vacation locale, the kids, grandkids, great-grand-kids, and various younger friends, will like the idea of coming there even when it is inhabited by 1 to 4 decrepit old ladies.

One obvious problem with such a co-operative plan, whether between related or unrelated age-peers, is that relationships with significant others are bound to interfere, possibly right up until the end of life. Another problem is that it is not all that likely that it will work out that slide to decrepitude is similar between all parties, or even if it is, the individual flavors of decrepitude may compound problems rather than complement as solution set. For instance, maybe I am wandering around in a fog of dementia dropping pudding everywhere, and one of my sister has brittle bones that may break when she slips on the pudding.

That said, even at the not so very old age of 55, my social circle is already co-operating in a good deal of minor stuff starts popping up health care. I mean even if your engine, transmission, and whatever-the-third-most-crucial-expensive-thing-on-a-car-would-be are still in good shape, all sorts of little stuff starts going wrong as you age, or simply not renewing itself as quickly as when you were younger. So, you will at least need somebody to give you a ride to the dealership when your heater fan stops spinning or your exhaust pipe crumbles in a pot hole. That's why it might be my plan to get married again when I am 57.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Interesting discussion. I've seen what Sclass is describing with members of my own extended family. In general, social capital works best when one isn't a liability. People tend to avoid others who are liabilities. Thus one needs to avoid as many liabilities in one's own life as the aging process takes its toll.

Living close to services strikes me as something critical to do in old age. You are better off living in an apartment next to the hospital than in a 4-bedroom house filled with clutter.

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Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:22 am
Interesting discussion. I've seen what Sclass is describing with members of my own extended family. In general, social capital works best when one isn't a liability. People tend to avoid others who are liabilities. Thus one needs to avoid as many liabilities in one's own life as the aging process takes its toll.
i’m not sure if this is a universal truth or more a function of late capitalist societies where family relations are more transactional.

i grew up orbiting a large family compound with 4 generations living together. times were difficult and everybody sort of pitched in looking after each other, had most meals together, etc. children were raised by the proverbial village, and there was resilience in the system—e.g. one parent died, the other adults took over.

then the old people died, cared for by everyone younger, but then properties were sold, everyone splintered, families went nuclear, and relationships became more distant.

in the new nuclear houses old people are lonelier and the children are strangers. curiously enough, everyone is doing “better” economically and there’s no lack of money, but family ties are weaker. and without resilient network support, everyone watches their individual money like a hawk.

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Sclass
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Re: Protecting against dementia

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During one of my discussions with mom’s caregivers we spoke of pill bottle time. My mother told me in her 50s she never wanted to live like some dementia stricken people we knew. But without a plan, her words were useless. I’d just recall them as I was dragging her mess along behind me as I fought to preserve my own lifestyle.

The caregiver said you have a narrow window to access the bottle of pills. When it is time, you’ll be in doubt and any optimism may make you second guess the decision. Then the next phase starts and before you know it things aren’t all that bad and you’re okay with the situation because your mind cannot analyze the gravity of the situation. Then it’s too late for pills.

Infrastructure debt. Now that is a good way of putting it. I was trying to get at that using “social capital bankruptcy” but I think this is better.

My folks were pretty damn selfish. They pushed me to be successful then once I was they dragged me home to care for their oversized life. I got hobbled by their financial shenanigans designed to keep me dependent. Then I had to bail their yacht during the shitstorm using a Dixie cup.

Basically I had to pay the interest on their infrastructure debt.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:24 am
i’m not sure if this is a universal truth or more a function of late capitalist societies where family relations are more transactional.
Alternatively, late capitalism encourages individuals to pick up more liabilities than they would otherwise. (Clutter, obesity, etc) Family members with high competence are given more incentive/opportunity to leave due to global markets. Thus a kind of braindrain takes place, leaving the existing family members with even more liabilities/infrastructure debt and less competence within their network. Then those who are most competent start to view it as a sinking ship, and trying to leave before the situation drags them down with it.

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Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:13 pm
Alternatively, late capitalism encourages individuals to pick up more liabilities than they would otherwise. (Clutter, obesity, etc) Family members with high competence are given more incentive/opportunity to leave due to global markets. Thus a kind of braindrain takes place, leaving the existing family members with even more liabilities/infrastructure debt and less competence within their network. Then those who are most competent start to view it as a sinking ship, and trying to leave before the situation drags them down with it.
yeah, that’s a good point, my family lived “nuclear” and traveled to various international posts due to my dad’s professional chops.

nevertheless, we kids wanted to be at grandma’s house *all the time* (which annoyed my dad, who i think got jealous, lol). grandparents, cousins, uncles, great uncles, big lunchtime tables, plus the neighborhood... it was a blast.

they had no clutter or obesity. my grandpa beat me at pushups till the end! in retirement he made furniture by hand with no power tools, so he was thin, but kinda ripped.

enigmaT120
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by enigmaT120 »

I haven't really given this much thought though dementia does run in my family. I think it's interesting that most of the new friends I've made in the past couple of years are Millennials. I don't seem to meet people my own age.

Salathor
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Salathor »

jacob wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:07 pm
Apparently only the stronger versions. So maybe file this under possible but not plausible.



This was a short term study with finite dose exposure. Dunno about long term bioaccumulation, but I do know that "some people" are popping Benadryl like candy instead of pursuing lifestyle modifications to avoid the allergens, e.g. "cat + many years of daily Benadryl" instead of "no cat".

https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/2 ... entia-risk
When I got on the "self-sufficiency/fire/deliberate living" train, I just quit taking anti-allergy pills. I'd been a one-two a day benedryl user up until I was 25-26 (during the season) because of how bad my allergies were. I just went cold turkey.

There were about two years were I could literally hardly see from eye watering during allergy season before it finally moderated. I still get allergies, but now it's just "vigorous handkerchief use" instead of "nonfunctional, leaking machine".

ellarose24
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by ellarose24 »

Sclass wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:00 am
My mother had dementia. I can add to the list.

I would be particularly mindful of inflammation. My mother started out by having these rheumatoid arthritis flare ups where her knuckles would swell and bleed from little ulcers. I saw a strong correlation between these events and her descent into muddled thought. Whenever the knuckles turned red she would descend into the brain fog. As the swelling cleared so did the mind.

RA inflammation can occur in various places in the body. It is possible she had some inflammation in her brain or in her arteries leading to the brain. My recollection was swollen knuckles correlated with addled mind. When it went away she would act somewhat normal. We’d treat her with meds but her caregivers were unreliable with dosing and she’d have flare ups. It was really frustrating when they’d forget her pill and I’d see her spin out more into dementia.

Mom also had a traumatic life. WW2 refugee, lost her father and brother then raised by an abusive mother. Replaced by my dad. He gave her a few concussions.

When she started catching him in bed with other women she’d have these memory blackouts. She’d call on a Friday and say she caught dad with his mistress. Then she’d call on Sunday and say “Sclass, what happened this weekend...I cannot remember a thing.” It was like she had this trauma induced amnesia. This went on for years during her 50s as my dad screwed his brains out.

After he remarried she would still spend four to six months a year with him. He had an arrangement with his wives so he could work in two different cities for four month stretches. I spoke to mom about it because it weirded me out. She was okay with it but in retrospect I think she had to just block out a lot of reality to carry on like that with the man she loved. This may have been a dangerous game. Forgive and forget? Maybe it’s better to stubbornly cling to grudges. She got really good at forgetting. I think she had to in order to tolerate the deal.

As she really started to spin out she got happier and happier. By the end the only thing that would light her up was saying dad was flying in to visit her.

Mind your thoughts. They can transform you slowly. Don’t bump your head. Control inflammation.
This is really interesting Sclass and thank you for sharing it. I think inflammation is vastly underrated. It is also thought to play a role in bipolar disorder https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26766943/

I have very similar experiences to your mother which terrify me. Before bipolar episodes, my joints swell noticeably and I cannot move. I also, when reliving traumatic events, can forget large swaths of time. Both of these are almost always precursors to episodes.

I believe trauma and inflammation are both very important data points for a wide range of issues. ACE scores (Adverse childhood experiences) can reduce life expectancy by up to 20 years-and not just because of mental illness--the prevalence of things like even cancer and stroke have a positive correlation with traumatic events. https://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/apps/phl/r ... aphic.html

I personally believe that some of the most confusing neurodegenerative diseases almost always have a mix of both trauma and genetics. Sapolsky says as much about depression, but I think that can be extended out to many diseases https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOAgplgTxfc&t=2s (it is definitely the prevailing theory for bipolar too--and bipolar and depression are also linked to dementia)

The body and mind are far more connected than we think. They both need care. I am very sorry your mom had such a hard life, and I hope you are working on your own healing from witnessing it.

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Sclass
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Re: Protecting against d

Post by Sclass »

Wow I wrote some pretty awful stuff down over here awhile back.

Just reading that is going to change the tone of my day.

Yes, inflammation is probably a thing. Sadly age related cognitive disease is poorly understood. I think too much funding was given to studies searching for amyloid plaques. Science granting is flawed. But so is everything else in our advanced society.

My sister inherited mom’s RA. So I guess mom did leave her an inheritance. Not the one she wanted. I’ve got this genetically selected lab rat to experiment on now. It’ll be interesting to see if it gets into her brain. Right now she just has melon knees and strawberry knuckles. She’s frantically popping suppressor meds trying to stave off her own immune system. She no longer tells me I’m full of sh.t about the RA/dementia connection I saw in my mom. She is terrified. We figured she has about fifteen more years before things get ugly.

And yes, I am mentally damaged by my childhood trauma. The abuse has been going on about fifty years. At some point I’ll get some help when I feel I have enough money to pay somebody to listen to me and scribble little notes in a note book.

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Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against d

Post by Alphaville »

Sclass wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 9:01 am
And yes, I am mentally damaged by my childhood trauma. The abuse has been going on about fifty years. At some point I’ll get some help when I feel I have enough money to pay somebody to listen to me and scribble little notes in a note book.
eh! cmon friend, that is a terrible excuse to avoid needed work. yes yes, it's not pleasant at first, this "return of the repressed," rehashing all the garbage we stashed in the attic... but to really move past it, burying things doesn't help. it is possible to let things go after a healthy examination, and treatment-- but buried, they can pull our strings without us knowing.

if money is a concern... groups are cheaper. yeah, groups might not be as sophisticated as a note scribbler with 3 postgraduate degrees and a license to write prescriptions... but groups are cheaper, and perhaps more useful in helping you see that your condition might not be as extraordinary as you once thought.

which, btw, is a horrible truth... that trauma is more widespread than we like to admit. so we ignore it and go on with our load. but can we recover from it? well, actually... yeah...

Campitor
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Campitor »

Not sure if it's been mentioned on this thread but those who sleep 6 hour or less a night have an increased risk of dementia. One of the most important functions that occurs during sleep is the increase in cranial fluid and pressure. Those who study the brain and/or sleep believe this increase in fluid and pressure is to flush the brain of any detritus that naturally builds up as a consequence of our daily brain activity. This detritus is harmful to our brain. Undersleeping impacts this process and allows the unwanted residue to build up which can contribute to dementia.

Sleep researcher Matthew Walker discusses the link between Dementia (and other diseases of the brain) and lack of sleep in his book "Why we sleep". I highly recommend the book to anyone who is concerned about brain health.

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Sclass
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Sclass »

Perhaps if I find the right therapist. There may be something to be said about holding a smoldering grudge forever to ward off dementia. :lol: Some of the sharpest seniors I know can really gripe about the past.

The sleep idea sounds great. My paternal grandparents slept a lot. Stayed sharp into their 90s.

My mother had this bad habit of watching TV all night. I didn’t realize how bad it was till I set up a webcam and watched her. I think she was lonely when she had to live alone half of the year. Being lonely allowed her to develop some really knarly eating habits and sleeping habits. She’d just watch old people broadcasts (Matlock, Gilligan’s Island, Colombo) all night while eating Popeye’s chicken. She didn’t really crash in the morning. She appeared to only need a few hours of sleep a night mostly in her recliner during boring shows.

I think I’m gonna take a nap.

ertyu
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by ertyu »

ertyu wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:56 am
There was an Atlantic article a couple of years ago about a dude who resolved not to get any care (other than palliative) past the age of 75. Maybe there'd be something there.
Further up, Jacob has a link to this article but argues that there would be a temptation to cheat on one's resolution and tell oneself that one doesn't have to forgo care yet because one still "feels fine."

It occurs to me that one can protect against this temptation by moving to a developing or second world LCOL country where health care would be available to a decent average standard but nothing groundbreaking. Cheaper COL, cheaper healthcare, protection from the medical system sucking every last bit of your savings through overprescription/overtreatment as you age, protection from you yourself being tempted to go for specialized procedures - the procedures simply won't be there for you to fret about.

Frita
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Frita »

Interesting read, thanks for bumping it @ertyu. My question is why the underlying death phobia? The health insurance, pill-pushing big pharma, and fee-for-service medical industry certainly perpetuate it. And the masses just follow along without questioning.

ertyu
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by ertyu »

I personally don't have a death phobia, I'm more concerned with getting dementia and falling prey to elderly abuse. So it's not the death, it's the elderly abuse while sitting in your own feces that gets to me. And it strikes me that an excellent way to not die of dementia is to die of something else sooner. Thus setting an upper limit to the age past which you will let go and let the dice fall as they may.

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Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

im planning to take up bullfighting in old age.

im only half joking. i'd like to be dispatched swiftly. a dangerous hobby seems like a viable option...

i know im repeating myself here. but that's how dementia starts to show... 😜

chenda
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by chenda »

It's worth I think considering how your future self might not be as financially responsible as your current self, or might be easy pray for con artists. I remember a case on the local news some years ago where some scumbags cheated a former accountant out of his life savings, as the account had had a car accident which left him with a brain injury as was too trusting.

Social capital of trusted people is a good line of defence. An old lady living by herself is much more vulnerable to scams and fraud than an old lady who's children are keeping a close eye on her (and perhaps their inheritance ;) but some kind of trust fund, where at least the bulk of your assets are legally protected might be a good idea, especially as you get older and become more vulnerable mismanagement. Granting power of attorney to a trusted relative should also be considered.

chenda
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by chenda »

Also speaking of hearing loss everyone should be using hearing protection if they regularly go to noisy environments, bars, clubs, sports events, cinemas, or are operating noisy machinery. Carry earplugs on your keys so you've always got then on you and wear them diligently.

Some STDs like syphilis apparently can cause brain damage if untreated so...we all know what to do...

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

I once knew someone who's grandmother saved up $1.3 million dollars over the course of her life with frugal habits and was planning to leave that money to her grandchildren for college. Unfortunately, she got dementia, and before anyone else realized, the uncle of the family had swooped in and basically used grandma's dementia to get her to change her will so that uncle was left her entire life savings. Then when she died, uncle proceeded to spend life savings gambling and the grandchildren ended up falling into poverty. This story haunts me sometimes.

I think the scary thing about dementia is that it can often end up silent or undetected until it's in its later stages, and by then, it's too late for contingency planning or praying you get pneumonia. That silent period is prime targeting for elder abuse. I'm not sure how one detects it early enough because of how subtle it can be, and the fact that it's going to limit your own cognitive abilities when it happens. Trustworthy social connections are so important here, yet it's often the same source of social connections that leads to elder abuse. It's truly disturbing and frightening.

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