Warding Off Alzheimers

Applause to FirstBaptistChurch in Jacksonville, N.C. They were featured on ABC News last night for their fight against Alzheimer‰Ûªs Disease. During the week, some of the older church members, many of whom are well into their 80s, get together to exercise their hearts and minds. Congregation members take part in daily activities — from horseback riding, exercising, organic gardening and learning Spanish — all to stimulate the mind and invigorate the body. Even the sound of church members learning new languages can be heard by just walking down the church’s halls. The Church’s senior pastor, Rev. James E. Brown started this holistic program, or what he has dubbed the five “ministries,” after his mother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease.

In my keynote, The Meaning of Life, I cover eight points that we can learn from our elders about living a quality life. For example, having purpose ‰ÛÒ a recent study has suggested that people who are disciplined and well organized are less susceptible to Alzheimer‰Ûªs. Another point, staying activea recent study has shown that exercise aids mental function in Alzheimer‰Ûªs patients as good as if not better than prescription medications. There has been enough written about brain stimulation and Alzheimer‰Ûªs and it supports a point we make about lifelong learning. Here is another ‰ÛÒ friendship ‰ÛÒ RushUniversity conducted a study that showed that people with broad social networks warded off Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease more so than those who did not have friends. They examined the brains of these people and found that those with broad social networks may have had the tangles and plaque associated with the disease but never manifested it.

These are simple points that I hammer over and over again but First Baptist knows how important they are. So here is the eight.

Have purpose.

Be active.


Nurture friendships.

Embrace lifelong learning.

Have a positive attitude.

Be grateful.