Today I met my sister-in-law and told her that it was great to see her, as I hadn’t seen her since Christmas. She looked at me and said, “What are you talking about?  I just met you last week!” I am 41 years old and think I just experienced my first “senior moment.”

I am thrilled about the Monday night report on CBS Evening News on “Finding a Cure for Alzheimer’s.” I agree wholeheartedly with its description of this disease as a future tsunami based on the growing aging population and longer life spans.  Having watched it (see below if you missed it), I am more concerned than ever for my family, my friends and myself. I am also very hopeful about a cure and excited about research on preventative measures and treatment.

Last October I wrote about the late diagnosis of my grandfather’s dementia in conjunction with the release of the 2009 World Alzheimer’s Report. I cannot advocate strongly enough how important it is to detect the signs of dementia early on and seek professional diagnosis. Had it been done in my grandfather’s case, he might have been able to treat it earlier with medications and exercises to help reduce the severity of dementia he now has.

Contrary to the popular use of the phrase “senior moment,” I do not believe it is normal for seniors to lose their mental sharpness. There are so many mentally sharp seniors in their 80s and 90s, yet somehow they are seen as the anomaly. Because of this misperception that “senior moments” are a normal aspect of aging, I believe many seniors go undiagnosed until it is too late to have taken any preventative measures. The great news is that there is research demonstrating ways people can detect and help fight dementia earlier in their lives before the symptoms occur.

Unlike the young woman interviewed in CBS’s report, I believe genetic testing for Alzheimer’s could arm millions of people with information and enable them to take courses of action to fight dementia such as with new medications and brain exercises. Last weekend I attended the Silvers Summit at the 2010 International CES in Las Vegas (the world’s largest technology show) and learned about Dakim Brain Fitness, a new software program backed by research demonstrating how these memory exercise games can help fight dementia. Dakim, the number one brain fitness program in the United States, won the conference’s top innovation award this year, too.

After my “senior moment” today, I’m convinced it is not too early to start exercising my memory.

Susan Baida, former marketing executive with Starwood Hotels, Estée Lauder Companies, Avon and Del Laboratories, is co-founder of eCareDiary.com, an online community formed in late 2008 for those caring for elders in our families. The site includes tools and resources for those seeking and providing long-term care, and a singular set of tools called Care Diary, designed to make coordinating care and sharing information easy among family members and other caregivers. A member of Manhattan Community Board 5 since 2002, Baida has served as the Chair of the Human Services Committee, which addresses issues pertaining to the elderly, healthcare, education and social justice. She has written numerous resolutions to help improve services for the elderly and was honored by the Manhattan Borough President for her efforts to address public school overcrowding. She is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She and her husband, John, have a 1-year-old daughter, Avery.

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  • Tweets that mention Response to CBS' Where America Stands On Finding a Cure For Alzheimer's | Women's Voices For Change -- Topsy.com January 15, 2010 at 2:20 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Generations of Care, Dakim Brain Fitness, Susan, Bonnie Laiderman, eCareDiaryJohn and others. eCareDiaryJohn said: Susan writes about the CBS' News Alzheimer's story and sees herself. http://bit.ly/5ZNGr4 […]

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