Did you know that out of the 5 million people who have Alzheimer’s right now, 3.2 million of them are women? By the age of 65, 1 in 6 women will get Alzheimer’s compared to 1 in 11 men. In fact, women over 65 are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s as they are breast cancer. Does this give you pause?
Now I’ve got to tell you, that’s weird. Why? Because when you look at the checklist of what to do to NOT get Alzheimer’s, the number one thing science says it to, “make friends & create social connections.” And guess what? Women do that WAY better than men! In spades!
So what gives? Apparently, if you have the APO-E4 gene, which is linked to Alzheimer’s, and you’re a woman, you are very likely to succumb to the disease. If you’re a man? Not so much. There is some research that says it’s because women live longer and that estrogen loss contributes to the buildup of amyloid plaques, but really? The jury is out.
So here’s my take: if you’re a woman, make friends and lots of them. I consider myself super fortunate because I do have friends, lots of them, from Australia to Arizona. I have a zillion more friends than my husband and considering the statistics, maybe that’s a good thing. My friends come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Even better, the ones I know that I can count on would be totally cool if I started talking to plastic tumblers. In fact, they would talk to them, too, just so I don’t feel so alone. Now, that’s a real friend.
So, in case you are looking for one yourself, here is a checklist:
1. They accept you “as is” but they don’t let you get away with BS.
2. They are ‘empathetic’—not ‘sympathetic.’
3. They encourage you to be your BEST self and kick your butt if you’re not.
4. They listen and listen and then some.
5. They are ‘there’ for you even if you haven’t seem them for 40 years.
In the pictures above and below, you will see some of my tennis girlfriends. I love them. I can count on them and know what else? They can count on me.
Love, love, love! You can always count on me!
Sent from my iPhone
Enjoyed your email today. When I first moved to Denver, a friend who lived here and I decided we would get a group together, of seniors who lived independently and have a focus group. When you are in a retirement facility, you have many activities, but living alone, a different matter. We gathered 16 together ,ages 65=82. The first thing all wanted were more friends, and activities to do. The negative issue was NO ONE WANTED THEIR EXPERTISE ANYMORE, AND ALL HAD FORMER WONDERFUL PROFESSIONAL JOBS, FROM TEACHING , MARKETING, PUBLISHING, MANAGERS, DIRECTORS ETC. NONE COULD FIND A JOB, AND ABOUT 8 HAD REALLY LOOKED. ALL HAD given their time WITH DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS, AND WORKED ON FUND RAISERS ETC.
We started with ( Happy Hours and dinners), We have speakers at many get togethers, a group go to plays together, so we are doing our thing. However, I see so many in my condo complex, alone, on walkers, exsisting. Some days, I to get BLUE, so I call up a friend, and get out. I am now a aspiring writer, dreaming of stories, then writing about the dream. All Hallmark, Happy ever after, with people in their 60-70 falling in love. My mother remarried at 77, he was 80, and they lived such a beautiful life . I think more stories need to be written about this, it does happen, and it makes life so much more meaningful. So hope I can find a publisher to brighten seniors who might think love is behind them, not in front of them. Thanks for listening. Blessings, Carol
Sent from Windows Mail
Carol–you are doing all the ‘right’ stuff and I want to encourage you to “write” stuff, too. You are right: older people DO need to hear of “happy ever after stories,” because they HAPPEN!! So go girl, and keep me posted! 🙂 Helen
Thanks for this lovely truth. And for the information. I wonder if the Alzheimer statistics reflect the stress we women put on ourselves to be such good caregivers and helpers in general. We need to give to ourselves as well as to others, and not everyone really knows that or puts it into practice. I wish you well and send smiles, Tasha
You bring up such a very, important topic. Stress is a killer and my guess is that you are right, women bear more of that than men. 🙂