Alzheimer's Disease (Dementia)

When it comes to health, we as professionals don't always have the answer. If you came up to me and asked if physical exercise and healthy lifestyle choices will stop any chances of someone getting any long term health issues like Cancer or Dementia, I can't honestly say that it would. It isn't as cut and dry when it comes to questions and answers like this.

No two individuals can follow the same path because we are all unique and all have our own variables to consider when we address these questions. For instance two people one who smokes and parties hard and a life-long vegan yoga practitioner can both live to be 100 years old with minimal health problems OR they can both die of cancer at 30 years of age. Genetically we have our own variables and things we need to consider, THERE IS NO MAGIC MEDICINE OR PERFECT RECIPE.

We as humans need to realise this and became avid learners and self-discovers of what path our bodies and minds need and what will provide us with an optimal life. This doesn't justify going out and partying hard to make the most of life, hell no. It means that maybe you weren't destined to be a high end corporate mogul, or you weren't meant to be a Yogi, the best dictator of our optimal lives is our bodies and minds. However it is when we don't explore, learn, trial and fail/pass that we don't find that path and are destined to crash and burn.

I bring this to your attention because someone very close to me was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia. According to the Queensland Alzheimer's Association:

Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Symptoms of dementia may include: 

  • loss of memory 
  • difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
  • difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
  •  personality and mood changes
There are a number of diseases that cause the symptoms of dementia as a result of the changes they have on the brain and the ultimate loss of nerve cells (neurons).

They were a true believer of optimal physical health and fitness - This someone is my grandfather. He has been one of my heroes and major inspirations in how I want to live my life.
To say this man was a freak would be an understatement! He has been an active patrolling member and competitor in Surf Life-Saving for over 50 years, he competed in the greatest endurance event on earth the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, completed 9 hour Adventure races in his 60's, played rugby league, kayak down rapids and never drank a drop of alcohol his whole life - the lost goes on (trust me I can't be bothered writing all his accomplishments). And he loved training his brain - learning, soduko's, cryptic crosswords, woodwork, puzzles, etc.

Into his 70's now, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and it brings us to question, Why?? Why would a pin up for healthy living end up with such a debilitating health problem? Some may question his endurance challenges and heavy training, some may question stress levels, some may question his diet. But my point is we don't always have the answers. My grand dad did everything right and people did and still do look up to him, especially me.

Does he regret what he has done? No.
Does he wish he could go back and try something different to change his fate? No.


Whether Alzheimer's takes him away from us or whether he once again triumphs over another of life's phenomenal challenges he will still be in my eyes a pin up for health and fitness. In my family discussions this topic has come up many times, and many members of my family play the blame game upon his exploits, but this is one of life's many mysteries. Had he been lazy, boozy and unfit perhaps heart attack or cancer would have caught up with him already. Perhaps his lifestyle choices delayed the inevitable. We may never know. But I'll tell you what - he still swims, rides, does puzzles and keeps on dominating and loving life.

This is something I have been pondering myself, will i have this inevitable fate? Perhaps, but after watching this amazing video and having been privileged to have my Grandfather as a major part of my upbringing and life - I don't have such a pessimistic view on the topic. This is definitely a good watch, please take the time to watch it, I hope it reaches you like it did for me.

Thanks for reading.