Does Brain Exercise help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s?

Does Brain Exercise help?

We read in a lot of places that exercising your brain can help prevent dementia.

Is that true? If so, what makes sense to try?

No one can say for certain that exercise can prevent or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Still, some are certain that it helps, and there is a complete industry of brain-related exercises. You can get apps, web pages, games, workbooks, foods, and more. Is it all about the money .. capitalizing on our fear of dementia? or, does it work?

First, if we think it does help, that is itself helpful. So, look at sites like these for apps and games … some of these aim for “wellness”, others for exercises for your brain and thinking skills…

And more! The NIH has a site too.

You can exercise your thinking, and that is always good.

And, here are some really good ideas for brain health from Consumer Health Digest. Also, from Every Day Health.

But, Can it help with Alzheimer’s?

Some researchers think so, based on this general theory … if cognition improves in people without dementia due to brain exercise, then it must be of some benefit to those who do. Here is an article on Brain Exercise from the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK. But, they also point out that there is no evidence that brain exercise delays Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association in the US says this: “At this time, there is no treatment to cure, delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

My experience

Personally, I know that my ability to “think” diminished over the years. I didn’t notice it, but it was certainly apparent when I went to Law School. Now, I didn’t start until I was 51 … well after most lawyers get their start! But, the key here is that I thought I was in fine shape, mentally.

When I got to class, I realized I would have to read, and remember, hundreds of pages of information … every night! I hadn’t read hundreds of pages in one day for 30 years! It was a struggle to re-learn how to learn. And, it took the whole first semester.

The important point? I turned the corner, and was able to learn, and retain massive amounts of information. Which proves two things to me … one, certain skills I had before atrophied, and two, exercising those skills brought them back.

So, I am a believer that brain exercise helps. I’m not so sure about avoiding Alzheimer’s, but exercising your brain is a very good thing!

What about body exercise?

Oh, yes, one more cool thing … physical exercise can help your brain too!

You know you feel better when you have a little exercise in your daily routine. That has a known reason. But, if you exercise, it turns out that you are also repairing neurons through “neurogenesis”. Since Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia have as one process the destruction of neurons, it is possible that exercise can slow the progression. Active mice show more nerve regeneration than inactive ones. Hopefully, our brains act like the mice brains!

So, be active, both mentally AND physically!

Elder Law – More than merely documents?

The world of aging is complex and you have a lot of decisions to make and an avalanche of information to process.  Your​ trusted advisors (you have some, right?) need to help you along the way.  This week, I was at lunch with a financial planner who was talking about meeting clients and closing sales.  My new friend was developing​ a vision for “relationship” planning.  When a planner, or an attorney, or anyone, has a “transactional” mindset, the process is pretty much how many clients and how many sales.  The client’s, or customer’s, needs can be lost too easily  in that process.

Instead, the better approach seems to be to connect with YOU, understand YOUR needs, and look at ways to work together to solve the current (and future) needs.  The best relationships we have are based on mutual trust and respect, and not on the sale.  Of course, the sale is important too, but it isn’t the starting point.

There is more than a document to your estate plan, more than a Will or a Trust.  There is more than the mere application for Medicaid.  Your child with disabilities is not just a Trust beneficiary.  You need to be heard.  You might want to talk about your fears in transition, or wonder if you are making the right decisions for your parents or your children.  You might have property that needs to be sold, but it is the family home … For these, and more, you need someone who will listen and work with you as your family addresses planning or crises.

What would you prefer to experience?  Merely documents, or caring professional advisors who coach you through the information and decisions?  Yes, we do prepare documents, sometimes a lot of them.  But, more importantly, we develop a plan.  And, it is YOUR plan, they are YOUR documents, and it is all for YOUR family.

Isn’t that a better relationship?

Call us today!

Veterans Day thanks

Today is the celebration of Veterans Day.  It hasn’t been all that long that this day has been dedicated to honor our nation’s veterans … only since 1954.  It was originally celebrated as Armistice​ Day following WWI and expanded over time to honor veterans from all wars.

My dad was a Naval aviator and officer and often told me stories of his trips, flying submarine hunters, and hair-raising take-offs and landings on carriers.  As a child we visited his ship once, CVS-18 / USS Wasp, and I could imagine the terror I would feel at sea but deeply awed by the heroics of those who would engage in such dangerous service.  I miss my father on these kinds of days and I wish that I could have shared more stories about his service to me and to our nation.  His service is one of the reasons why I serve veterans today in my practice.

When you think about your veteran family members and loved ones today, and all days, remember to thank them for serving, and consider how many stories there are to be heard.  Take time to listen!

​​Thank you, Veterans!  And God bless America!

North Carolina Tax implications for married Same Sex couples

On October 24, the NC Department of Revenue issued a new tax ruling, based on the recent Fourth Circuit decision overturning the ban on same sex marriages.  Simply, this directive allows NC to recognize the right  of same sex couples, legally married anywhere, to file both NC and federal tax returns with the same filing status. (e.g., “Married filing jointly”, or others).

The directive also allows couples to file amended tax returns for prior tax years (under the existing limitations) if they were legally married in a different state in a prior tax year.

Finally, the directive requires married couples to furnish a new Form NC-4 (withholding​ allowance certificate) completed as a married couple to their employers.  This would affect same sex couples, both married in another state but now recognized in North Carolina, as well as newly married couples in NC since the decision.

Be sure to contact your tax preparer or attorney for more information specific to your case.​​  To read the directive, please look here​.

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