With 47 million people currently living with dementia world wide, there is much work to be done to bring awareness to the critical facts regarding Alzheimer’s disease including the positive message found within the horrific facts we hear most often. Yes, we know it is the 6th leading cause of death in America, yet we hear progress in research breakthroughs, and strongly encourage all grass root community fund raising efforts continue until a cure is found. We know that by 2030 the number of individuals diagnosed with dementia is anticipated to increase to 76 million, yet we embrace the fact that 30 years ago we were told similar statistics would triple for deaths related to heart disease. The positive message is that the numbers just didn’t happen. Why? Because people listened to the words “reduce your risks by taking care of your heart and change your lifestyle”! Might the same be true for these numbers we are being told for dementia thirty years from now? After all, like the heart, the brain is an organ in our body. A healthy organ is less likely to become ill. We have heard it said by the Alzheimer’s Association if we make better choices for brain health, we CAN reduce our risk of cognitive decline! We should all educate ourselves on what those choices are and make the necessary changes today so that tomorrow we may live our healthiest best. June 21st has been declared nationally the “Longest Day” in honor of Alzheimer’s disease and we are all asked to wear our purple to show our support. May we also make this our starting point to begin the top 10 ways to “love our brain” as listed here and quoted from the Alzheimer’s Association: 1. “Hit the Books” Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online. 2. “Butt Out” Evidence shows that smoking increases the risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked. 3. “Follow Your Heart” Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke-obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes-negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow. 4. “Heads Up” Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls. 5. “Fuel Up Right” Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 6. “Catch Some ZZZ’s” Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking. 7. “Take Care of Mental Health” Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. 8. “Buddy Up” Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. 9. “Stump Yourself” Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Challenge your mind. 10. “Break a Sweat” Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.