A Christmas Example of Keeping Your Brain in Tip Top Shape

   “Mom, are you crying?” I sorrowfully question while she brings the dish out of the oven.  “Are you burning yourself?”

     She nods no.

     “Moooothhheeeerrrr,” my sorrow sweetly sings the word to four syllables.

     While I take the casserole from her hands I continue, “How on earth can our Christmas Sweet Potato casserole bring tears to your eyes?  It is always so delicious.”

     After quickly laying it on the counter keeping my eyes on her I pull her into my arms where she shakes, emitting silent tears.  With a tight hold I whisper in her ear, “Mom, we knew this was coming.  She’s as happy as can be. She’s here in spirit, maybe even in the sweet potatoes.”

     With a burst of laughter mother pushes me away and reaches for a handkerchief in her pocket.  Chuckling with a crooked smile and low voice, “You know she is in the memory care facility at the assisted living.”

     “Well, of course but it’s her sweet potato recipe, and if it wasn’t for her influence and example we wouldn’t have nor appreciate all this china and accoutrements for a beautiful table and delicious meal.  I mean Mom, this,” my words continue as I Vanna White sway my hands to feature the dining room, “this is the cover of next December’s Southern Living.  Grandmother has helped us set our traditions as you, Mother, continue to do for your grand children.”

     “How on earth can walking in the woods collecting pinecones and spraying them with that cinnamon oil stuff be a tradition?” smart aleck 10 year old granddaughter Madelyn vocally snaps while she darts in between us to grab a Christmas cookie. “What’s a tradition anyway?”

     “Madelyn,” rubbing the top of her head while swallowing my sarcasm, “that is a beautiful centerpiece on our table with pinecones, magnolia leaves and poinsettias.  We had a family outing and that was a lot of fun.  Walking all around, gathering our centerpiece stuff–being all together was fun.  That is a tradition.”

     Ducking away Madelyn rolls her eyes and scurries away while she chomps down on a cookie, crumbs spew everywhere.

    “It’s like the silver we give Madelyn every year mother, she will understand it all later.”

     Christmas turkey dinner was lovely complete with toasts, few more shed tears but mostly smiles and laughter.

     Cleaning the dishes I could see mother’s head spinning.  Back in her mind her thoughts tarry on her mother.  “What could have I done, how could I have prevented the Alzheimer’s, should I be with her, why…”

     If this type of scenario played at your Christmas celebration, there is hope.  While there is nothing mother can do to reverse her mother’s Alzheimer’s/dementia, there are many things she can do to prevent it from happening to her.   There are many things you or your parents can do to prevent it from happening to you or to them.  You start first by taking control of your brain health.  Resolve to have good brain health from this reading forward.

     Dementia begins to formulate in our brain 10 to 15 years before symptoms ever occur and according to the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association, the average age for dementia diagnosis is age 63-65.  That means at age 48 to 50 your brain cells are weakening and dementia is setting a foundation in your mind.

     Subscribe to my blog, keep your ears out for unique ‘brain health’ articles and review all our posted articles. If you are a current subscriber, I look forward to continual communication with you.  Also, sincerely, begin thinking about participating in serious exercise programs, both physical and mental.

     May you never have to go through such a scene as given above. And may you appreciate your family and your life this Christmas season and throughout.

     Here’s to your good brain health, Merry Christmas!