Did you know that there are many things you can do to forestall or slow down aspects of aging? So said Dr. Jeff Bass, a primary care doc and geriatric specialist here in the Boston area, to a large group of 58 Boston Workers Circle Aging in Community (AIC) Members last Sunday. His talk, which will be continued on May 7th, spelled out many things you can do to stay healthy and live fully as you age.
He began with a grounding quote from Margaret Renkl’s guest essay in the New York Times in November 2021: “Sorrow in the face of aging is a poor response to such good fortune.”
According to Dr. Bass, there are 12 modifiable risk factors for dementia, including hearing loss, depression, social isolation and alcohol intake, all of which are at least partially under our control. As we age, our brains, which may still work fine, may require more mindfulness and less multitasking to function optimally.
Among his general suggestions:
- Have your hearing tested and wear hearing aids if possible. Hearing aids can reduce dementia risk by 24%.
- Be screened for depression, and treat it if you are diagnosed.
- Assess your driving by driving with someone you trust in the car, and take their input seriously.
- Make liberal use of ambulatory aids, and don’t use furniture to help you balance.
- Practice standing from a sitting position without using your hands.
Finally, Dr. Bass strongly recommends thinking early about what help you need or might need, and having a conversation with your loved ones to make a plan – before it’s needed so you can be ready. Dr. Bass reminded us “Better a year early than a day late.”
Join us for Part 2 of this provocative presentation on May 7th, from 10:30-noon on Zoom. If you’d like to be on the Aging in Community list to hear about upcoming activities, email AIC@circleboston.org.