This is a bit off the beaten path for financial advice, but I think it has a place in the scheme of things. My clients, as they age, become concerned about the quality of life they will or will not enjoy in retirement. Their concern is not just financial; it also includes their physical and mental health.
The April edition of Prevention magazine contained an article on “How to Beat Alzheimer’s at Its Own Game”. With more and more of our friends and family being afflicted with this horrible disease, I believe that sharing some of the information in this article could be very helpful. If it only helps one person, it is well worth the effort. The financial burden of Alzheimer’s can exhaust a family’s retirement accounts as well as the caregiver’s health. The author of this article had some memory blips, was concerned and went in for a brain fitness evaluation at the NeurExpand Brain Center in Washington D.C. The founder of the clinic emphasizes helping people grow their brains and believes that the hippocampus is the key to preventing onset of Alzheimer’s. The hippocampus is a small part of your brain located on the underside of each hemisphere of your brain. Their primary duties involve short term memory and consolidating it for longer term storage. He believes that the hippocampi are ground zero for determining the strength of your memory now and your dementia risk in the future. The hippocampi shrink as we age—about .5% a year beginning sometime after age 50, resulting in inconvenient and embarrassing forgetfulness. Dr. Fotuhi, founder, believes that there are ways to reverse some of the normal shrinkage. There is research that shows, in response to healthy behaviors, the brain can react like an exercised muscle, growing bigger and stronger, at any age. This is important, since people with bigger hippocampi tend to have a lower risk of dementia. I am shortcutting the article, but I recommend it to you and suspect you can find it online at www.prevention.com or at the library.
Here are four important pieces of a healthy lifestyle that may help slow down or prevent dementia. Number one is to exercise at least three hours a week. Exercise increases the level of a protein that is essentially fertilizer for the brain. Second, meditate at least ten minutes each day to help lower stress levels. Get 1,500 mg of omega-3’s each day. People who have higher levels of DHA and EPA have larger hippocampi. Number four is to memorize something every day. Included in number 4 can be the learning of a new skill or language.
I am no doctor, so whether or not this information is medically correct is beyond my expertise. I will tell you that I am going to try the program. Dr Fotuhi believes that a brain fitness evaluation should be a standard medical procedure, just like colonoscopies, but without the prep. I tend to agree. I have seen the ravages of dementia or Alzheimer’s on clients’ families and finances. It is cruel and devastating, if not prepared for. If I can be a positive witness and help preserve family assets and brains for an enjoyable retirement, I have provided a valuable service. I think this discussion will end well if I quote from 1 John 4: “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we ought to also love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear.”
Although this information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, it cannot be guaranteed. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized tax, legal or investment advice. FSC Securities Corp does not offer tax or legal advice. Securities, insurance and investment advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment advisor 3416 North Blvd, Alexandria, LA 71301, (318) 448-3201. The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corporation.