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Dementia

I am afraid of getting dementia. I live by myself, I have no kids, no family here. I am from Japan and lonely. Most of time, I read book and spend days. I would like to connect with someone.
AARP Expert

Hi Makiko! 

Amy has such great ideas. My guess is you are a quiet person, and as you are getting older, the fact of your love of a quiet life has lead you to some isolation. The ideas Amy has to get you out and about are great. You can also consider being a volunteer at the library, if you already go there. Some libraries have a 'friends of the library' organization. That's one idea. Another is to find a local version of the Japan-America Societies and see if they have social gatherings or volunteer opportunities. I found a web site for the national association of Japan-America Societies: us-japan.org.  Do you do any kind of craft? Some senior centers have craft gatherings. I started a crochet/ knitting one in my small town and it's been going strong for 2 years with a couple of periods of shut down due to covid. We are about 6 women, and it's been great fun to get to know them better. 

 

One of the things i learned when i was a geriatric care manager was that each of us need about an hour a day of conversation to keep our brains working optimally. If you don't have folks locally to talk to, you could  schedule conversations with family members in Japan. Perhaps there's a niece or grandnephew that you could catch up with. It will help you avoid dementia, and also isolation and perhaps depression. 

 

My guess is that you'll need to stretch out of your 'comfort zone.' And if that's really hard for you, you could get a referral to a therapist and get some encouragement and coaching on how to stretch yourself into socializing. It's not easy. But you have time. If staying sharp is a priority and a concern, you might really enjoy getting out. Spring is coming. Get out there...

 

And feel free to ask more questions or share more about your situation.

So glad you wrote!

 

Jane

AARP Expert

@MakikoB597274 I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling isolated and worried. It really is difficult being isolated, and isolation isn't good for health - mental or physical health. And during the pandemic it can be even harder - and there is a lot of stress right now. I'm so glad you've posted here - that's a great first step! 

 

It sounds like you're concerned about dementia - there are a lot of factors to think about around that issue. Talking with your doctor is important for sure. Getting exercise and good sleep and keeping your brain active and having socialization are all important steps to take to prevent dementia. It's great that you are reading a lot! AARP has a lot of great information about brain health, including the Staying Sharp online program - check it out! Also a lot of great information on the AARP website Brain Health section! 

 

It's good that you are aware of the importance of connecting with people. It's especially challenging during the pandemic of course!  Here are a few suggestions for ways you can connect with others - I hope they are helpful! 

 

  • Sign up for AARP Friendly Voice - a trained volunteer will call you on a regular basis just for a friendly call - a chat that can brighten your day and give you a connection. 
  • Seek volunteer opportunities yourself - you can contact your local library, area agency on aging, church, community center, or volunteer center and ask about ways you can volunteer to help others. Volunteering is a great way to connect with other people! You can also contact your state AARP office and ask about volunteer opportunities!

I hope these thoughts are helpful! I'm so glad you are here in the Online Community - there are lots of great forums here - see about other topics you might have fun engaging in with other people! 

 

Take care,

Amy

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