Trina Justman Reichert
Community Health Advocate
Fifteen years ago, the movie “The Notebook” was released. It was based on a 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name.
It is a love story between Noah and Allie, a couple who met in the 1940s. Their “happily ever after” is spent with Noah reading and re-reading the story of their lives to Allie, as she suffers from dementia. This is where the tragedy lies: the couple shared a beautiful life together but she has no memory of it and he is left holding all of their memories alone.
The story seems to resonate with romantics of all ages, so much so that it was not only taken from book to movie form, but is also being produced as a Broadway musical.
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Blue Zones Project was brought to Dodge County because of a community health assessment that discovered some staggering statistics of preventable deaths that were attributed to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It is our goal to help people live longer, happier, healthier lives through a community-based approach focusing on an individual’s complete well-being.
Nationwide, there is some substantial research showing that while some of the above-mentioned chronic diseases are starting to see some decline, Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is actually on the rise. Because of the 1999 Danish Twin Study, we know that only 20% of our longevity is determined by genetics, leaving 80% in the hands of lifestyle and environment. Researchers and experts in the field, such as Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, authors of “The Alzheimer’s Solution,” tell us that most Alzheimer’s cases are preventable through lifestyle factors.
What can you do today to help prevent you from growing the statistic of the nearly 6 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s? Turning to one of the five original Blue Zones regions, Ikaria, Greece for inspiration, where it is 75% less common that they will develop Alzheimer’s than in the United States, we look to the Power Nine principles. Nearly all of these Blue Zones commonalities contribute to positively diminishing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the first place, specifically: Move Naturally, Plant Slant, Right Tribe, Purpose, and Down Shift. The power of prevention is in your hands. Blue Zones Project is here to help you live your best life and to share the length of your days with those you love in health and in happiness.
If you are caring for someone with dementia, there are resources available to you through the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Dodge County, call 920-386-3580.
Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bluezonesproject.com.