Monday, April 17, 2017

Jane: The Myth of the "Four Things"

1) Spend time with people/don’t let yourself get isolated — find meaningful paid or volunteer work and hang out with people you love.

2) Get some exercise — aerobic, several times a week — walking, biking, running, swimming, etc.

3) Eat right — preferably a diet rich in plant foods — fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish — think the Mediterranean diet.

4) Keep your brain active with reading, puzzles, hobbies, and other mental challenges.

The Alzheimer’s Association, AARP, and just about every health care practitioner we’ve run into these days has touted these four things as a way to “age well,” improve brain health, and keep you from getting dementia.


Given that Sky has done these four things the whole 32 years I have known him, that ain’t necessarily so, Joe.

Everyone should be doing these Four Things — but they are no guarantee that you or your loved one will not get dementia. They’re a recipe for a happy and healthy life, but you still might get cancer or heart disease, have a stroke, be hit by a bus crossing the street or, heaven forfend, get Alzheimer’s.

There are no guarantees in life. The unexpected can happen at any moment. But, for some reason, we Americans think that if we exercise, eat right, meditate, pray, stay informed, and keep our minds active, we will be protected from death or disability.

Nope. Guess what. We all die. Life is 100% fatal.

It’s best not to do these Four Things out of fear, but out of joy. Life is better if we feel good. Exercising and eating well help us feel good. Staying engaged in meaningful activities and spending time with our friends help us feel good. Let’s do it! Live in the satisfaction that comes from doing these things, not out of panic or dread of… the unknown. We cannot know for sure what will happen to us. Focus on living, focus on the now, and live a rich life while you can.


  1. It's easy to feel fearful with all that is happening nationally and globally let alone our personal lives. Choosing joy; choosing to live a rich life is sage advice now more than ever.

  2. What can I say... The denial that I live with is slowly peeling away. I worked with Sky for many years and this is the first I have heard of the A diagnosis. How crazy that you are experiencing this illness together. I wonder if it feels less isolating, not to be alone making this journey. The blog is great. I just read Jane's entry about the four shoulds. It is so true what she says. There are no guarantees. And all this is very scarey. But I want to thank you two from my heart, for your courage and for your creativity and honesty. Thank you so much for giving us the reality roadmap....