Taking care of your mind and body is important as you get older, but making a plan for healthy aging is not something that is easy for everyone. 

The Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter will host “Healthy Living for Your Mind and Body” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Cedarhurst Senior Living, 3701 W. 10th St. in Sedalia. The session will include tips on the latest research on how to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle to age healthily. 

“There is a lot of really recent lifestyle research that’s come out that has shown that when you do certain activities in succession it can be the blueprint for aging well,” said Jeremy Koerber, Education Program Manager for the Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter. “So if you want to stay independent, you want to be able to do things that you've always loved to do and also potentially prevent heart disease, diabetes, etc., hey these are the things that you need to be doing.”

According to Koerber, the components include diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity, social engagement, cognitive exercise, and adequate sleep. 

“What research has shown is that you will do four of these six components, you can reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s by as much as 59% and that’s a big number,” Koerber said. “It’s almost like looking at it from an insurance perspective. We’re not saying that you can flat out prevent it.”

The workshop is designed to provide participants with hands-on tools to help them incorporate recommendations into a plan for healthy aging. Koerber said attendees will receive a workbook that can be used to determine action items, list goals and identify barriers as they move through the program. 

“They should be able to walk out of there with really good overall strategies and tactics. Actual implementation items that they can use,” Koerber said. “Such as we all know that it’s important to eat healthy. We all know that but how do you actually get to do those things? A lot of times people kind of freeze with the action because it’s too much for them. So we’re kind of breaking this down to make it not just simple but give them takeaway action items that they could implement today if they wanted to.”

Koerber explained even implementing a few of the tools can help improve a person’s body and brain health. 

“What we’re trying to do is by being proactive and learning about these six action items,” Koerber said. “You may not be a big exercise person, that’s alright. Do you do sudoku puzzles? You may not be someone that really wants to go run 3 miles but could you improve your nutrition? Could you get better sleep?”

The workshop can also help motivate people to improve their lifestyles. Koerber said sometimes people just need to figure out their “why.” 

“Why would I do this? Why should I develop a program? Why should I stick to this?” he said.

“This particular program, I think, is one that can provide a lot of motivation and it provides hope,” he continued. “Alzheimer’s and dementia can be scary but there are a lot of scary things out there...What we want to do is reduce the stigma. We want to open a conversation. Naturally, with this topic we’re trying to work on the prevention side of it but we also want to make sure that there’s awareness raised that there are a lot of resources available to people in our communities free of charge.”

The workshop is for all ages and Koerber said it is never too late to start. He explained the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia increases after age 65 and then substantially at 85. Koerber said he has seen the methods work to help individuals age healthily. 

“The people that I saw, it was no mistake that they were in their 80s and still actively doing things outside that some people in their 40s and 50s couldn't do,” Koerber said. “That’s not a mistake. Every now and then you'll run into someone that just has fantastic genes, but if you really dig down into it and look at what they’re doing you would find some of these key categories that we’re talking about as far as the lifestyle research.”

Registration is encouraged, but not required. To register for the class, call 800-272-3900. 

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