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SINLCAIR CARES: How to keep your brain healthy and sharp

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What's today's date? Who's the President of the United States?

These are simple questions for most of us, but for someone living with Alzheimer's or dementia they may be impossible to answer.

In tonight's Sinclair Cares report, Delaine Mathieu shows us how to help keep our brains healthy and sharp for as long as we possibly can.

"Well, there were days when you thought 'Why me God why me.' We have to go through all this and watch him disintegrate in front of me"

JoAnn Billings recently lost her husband, Bob, of 43 years. He was the love of her life.

"We went on a blind date and never went with anybody else and seven months later we were married seven months," said Billings.

A few years ago, he was diagnosed with a form of dementia. JoAnn was his sole caregiver.

"They talk about grief once someone passes. Well, I started grieving a long time ago," said Billings.

At first, she says Bob couldn't remember simple things. But then he began to slip away. The hardest part of all...

"Not recognizing the grandchildren because he loved them so much and not remember my name," said Billings.

In the U.S., nearly 6 million people have Alzheimer's or a form of dementia--- about two-thirds are women.

Things like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and cholesterol increase your risk. There's no cure, but there are things you can do to keep your brain healthy and sharp.

"I would say a good diet definitely helps."

Doctor Katherine Trevino-Whiteley, a primary care physician who specializes in geriatric treatment, recommends taking vitamins every single day, no matter your age.

"I tell them to take just a multivitamin to get their B6 there be 12 prevent anemia. Make sure they're getting enough iron in the diet make sure they have enough fiber in their diet. Fruits and vegetables, vitamins A, B, C and D," said Dr. Whiteley.

She says exercise is huge for seniors. Yoga classes like this one use chairs for stability, while they move and stretch. Or get outside and walk, every single day.

And Dr. Whiteley says the brain is like a muscle, it needs exercise too.

"Have a calendar posted on their wall every single day. What day of the week is it? What month is it," said Dr. Whiteley.

Quiz your loved one on important holidays coming up, make them watch current events and read books.

"And this is your wedding?"

For JoAnn, these last few years have been rough. But she says she's thankful for the time they had together and will cherish the memories they made for the rest of her life.

Sinclair Broadcasting is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we’re introducing Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness and prevention.

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