• Barboria Bjarne

Alzheimer's Prevention for Twentysomethings

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Meg Jay’s book ‘The Defining Decade’, written on a timely and interesting subject, is full of wonderful information and wisdom. The author chooses to head each chapter with memorable and apt quotes which are truly food for thought. She most probably did not think of Alzheimer’s prevention as being one of the results of using her tips and advice for the twentysomethings.

One of her first subjects to deal with is the expansion of social networks beyond family and friends, so-called “strong ties”. Meg Jay advises that “weak ties promote…thoughtful growth and change.” Rose Coser, a sociologist, prefers developing “weak ties” to find stepping-stone jobs. The focus is more on the aspect of advancing their career and helping them to grow rather than preparing the social network to keep them vibrant into old age. But the practical application holds true: contacting people one has not met requires courage and confidence – with practice this becomes a more comfortable activity even for introverts.

Consider this quotation from Dale Carnegie, a writer and lecturer who started developing courses on public speaking and other subjects about a hundred years ago: “Inaction breeds fear and doubt. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Taking the first step is the hardest part. It requires thinking, reviewing past experience, and checking interests and abilities. Another statement in the book, credited to George A. Dorsey, an anthropologist and ethnographer, encourages thinking in a unique way: “The more you use your brain, the more brain you will have to use. “It is like a different way of saying “Use it or lose it”.

Perhaps engaging the brain to decide on action in one’s twenties will prevent an early onset of Alzheimer’s later on simply because the habit of thinking triggers the creation of new cells on a regular basis. Meg Jay advises young people to take action early to engage the best of their gifts, to develop their social network and to create a plan for their life.

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