When I was a teenager, you had your mouth washed out with soap if you used the “A” word. Now I hear it almost daily, coming out of the mouths of baby boomers, but it stands for something else: Alzheimer’s. Statistics now say half a million people will be diagnosed with it this year alone. As little as six months ago that ‘statistic’ was considerably lower. What’s happening to us? We’re losing our marbles at an alarming rate.
Somewhere along the road of “peace” and “free love” we got complacent. We ‘did our thing’ and ‘found ourselves’ and now many of us, despite the transcendental meditation induced stupor of all things Beatle are losing those same ‘selves.’ The bell-bottom generation is bottoming out. Some of their kids are already reserving spots in nursing homes and they’re not ‘gone’ yet. So, when The Wall Street Journal (March 30) tells you things aren’t looking so good, you pay attention.
But I’ve been paying attention since 1982 when my grandmother moved in with my newlywed husband and me. Granny, my best friend and Smith college graduate, was as loony as a tune the afternoon she walked through our front door carrying Alzheimer’s along with her suitcase. She kissed tomatoes in the market, talked to the TV set when it wasn’t on and covered our house with Kleenex to protect us from evil spirits.
Within weeks of feeding her regular, healthy meals, insisting she exercise daily and getting her involved in the world again, she was beating us both at Scrabble. It works. Okay, so it took science & a slew of researchers the last 30 years to figure it out–but it works. So before your kids start reading you nursing home brochures, do yourself a favor: Flip off the TV. Shut down the computer. Push those last 3 doughnuts down the garbage disposal. Walk out the door and start singing, “Here Comes The Sun.” (Yeah, they’ve discovered music is good for us, too). http://www.helen-hudson.com