Forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s – Is the stereotype of “All old people have Alzheimer’s” true? by Nicole Gentry

happy-seniors
Group of happy senior citizens with their hands raised over white

Aging and ageism is something that everyone eventually encounters in their lifetime, many people fear to get older and have many negative assumptions about becoming an older adult. This common fear is something that is translated into negative stereotypes that every person going through aging is going to encounter the worse possible scenario. As aging is looked at more in depth there are many stereotypes about the process of becoming an older adult. In reality, growing older can be positive, the healthier the person was throughout life, the better off they will be when they get into older adulthood. Many people typically consider older adults forgetful, unable to remember facts, stories, and tasks such as activities of daily living. It is common for memory to decline as we get older, but not every person who becomes reaches older adulthood suffers from severe memory loss such as Alzheimer’s. People over the age of 65 can take many steps to prevent memory loss and help prevent Alzheimer’s and slow the progression of the disease. In many cases, Alzheimer’s takes over many people’s memory and affects their life on a daily basis, the older a person gets, the higher chance they have of getting dementia, but there are lifestyle choices that can slow or help to prevent a person from suffering from Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America the key to a successful aging is is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress levels, and maintaining a healthy diet. The goals are to slow or prevent the loss of brain cells, maintain the brain’s capacity to make up for any loss, and let remaining brain cells function well (Alzheimer’s Association).
Article 1- An Apple A Day May Keep Dementia Away. (2005, February). USA Today, 5.
As humans get older, each individual is at risk for developing memory loss or Alzheimer’s, we are all of course not going to remember everything all of the time, but there are many ways to change a lifestyle and stop to help the development of memory loss. In a study done at Cornell University, the antioxidants from an apple have been tested and proven to protect brain cells from oxidative stress. Apples are one of the main foods suggested to be eaten because of the vast amount of quercetin which is an antioxidant that can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Anyone can get Alzheimer’s as they get older, their risks are higher due to the environment they live in, and their genetics (USA Today). In this experiment with rats, their brains were concentrated in quercetin or vitamin C, next the cells were covered in hydrogen peroxide. When the brain cells were covered in hydrogen peroxide the  type of oxidative cell that damages the cells and causes memory loss was stimulated. When looking at the different cells, the ones that had quercetin were notably less damaged than the ones with vitamin C. Luckily, apples have a lot of antioxidants and have been recommended to eat once a day to decrease the risk of getting Alzheimer’s (USA Today). Each person is different, each person’s brain and body can react differently, but diet plays an important role in the way humans age. If someone eats healthier, than they will typically age better. This study shows how important it is to eat healthily, and how fruit and vegetables that have quercetin in them that may help one from getting Alzheimer’s Disease.
Article 2- Solfrizzi , V. (2014, January 9). Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. Retrieved February 05, 2017,
Diet is a part of human’s life that is very influential on the outcome of someone’s health. When looking for someone who has Alzheimer’s it is important that they watch what they eat, and how much of a certain type of food they are eating. The main cause of Alzheimer’s disease is aging, but some people do not realize, life choices such as diet can play such a role in the chances of someone getting Alzheimer’s. Solfrizzi writes “Preventing or postponing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and delaying or slowing its progression would lead to a consequent improvement of health status and quality of life in older age.” This quote explains that through simple steps of eating a healthy diet and staying active can give a person a much higher chance of never getting Alzheimer’s disease. This article also explains how elevated saturated fatty acids could have negative effects on age-related cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment. Some foods such as fish, different types of oils, and nuts or seeds can help reduce the decline of Alzheimer’s (Solfrizzi).
Article 3- Kivipelto , M. (n.d.). Midlife vascular risk factors and Alzheimer’s disease in later life: longitudinal, population based study. Retrieved February 06, 2017.
In general, people who are healthier have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. People who have lived a healthy life and taken care of their body are not as high of a risk than a person who does not take care of their body and as a result, has high blood pressure. In this study, many people were medically examined, who were all in middle adulthood, from all different places across the world. Each person was asked a series of questions examining their medical records, events that involved the health of their hearts, and any other medical conditions that have previously happened. Each participant had their blood pressure recorded and then rechecked for the next twenty-five years. It was important to notice which patients had normal blood pressure, and which ones had high blood pressure. At the end of the study when each of the participants was over the age of 65 it was found that there was a correlation between having high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s. When taking a deeper look the participants who had a higher diastolic blood pressure were more likely to get the disease(Kivipelto). It is possible to regulate one’s blood pressure. There are medications that help, the less amount of stress in a life helps maintain blood pressure, and the healthier a person is, the more likely to have a lower or normal blood pressure. Not all older adults have high blood pressure, they are able to regulate their stress levels, they are able to exercise and keep their blood pressure at a normal level if they do, then the chance of them getting Alzheimer’s is lowered. Each person will live longer and keep a sharp brain the healthier they are. The longer they stay healthy, the longer they can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s (Kivipelto).
Article 4- Adlard, P. (2005, April 25). Voluntary Exercise Decreases Amyloid Load in a Transgenic Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved February 05, 2017
Exercise is one of the main activities we can do to stay fit, maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Exercise is important to keep muscles strong, the mind thinking about future activities, maintain an activity while working out and keeping the heart and brain working efficiently. In this specific study mouse, we used to see how their brains would react to five months of voluntary exercise. After the five months, it was found that there was a decrease in extracellular amyloid plaques in the frontal cortex, and the hippocampus (Adlard). Long-term exercise was also beneficial to the mice because they were able to complete and escape a water maze easier than before the long term exercise. In humans, exercise can help to enhance the brain, it is able to give the brain a chance for a quicker response time, think about the solutions to problems, and learn new tasks easier.
It is easy to come up with a lot of stereotypes about aging and older adults. There are many positive aspects that come with getting older, and aging should not be looked at as a negative part of life. One of the biggest stereotypes about older adults is that they are “extremely forgetful and all have Alzheimer’s. This stereotype is something that can be disproved and is not true. There are many ways that a person who is getting older can prevent or slow down the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Living a lifestyle that is full of a healthy diet, not too stressful, and full of activities such as exercising is proved to either prevent Alzheimer’s or slow the onset of a patient who already has the disease. Living a healthy lifestyle is an efficient way to keep your brain healthy and working normally throughout life.

Works Cited
Adlard, P. (2005, April 25). Voluntary Exercise Decreases Amyloid Load in a Transgenic

An Apple A Day May Keep Dementia Away. (2005, February). USA Today, 5.

Brain Health – Successful Aging. (2016, January 28). Retrieved February 05, 2017

Kivipelto , M. (n.d.). Midlife vascular risk factors and Alzheimer’s disease in later life: longitudinal, population based study. Retrieved February 06, 2017.

Solfrizzi , V. (2014, January 9). Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. Retrieved February 05, 2017,

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