In search of my father – 4BC 1116 mornings with Gina Baker
4BC Mornings: Dr Helena Popovic is a medical doctor and author of In Search of My Father. She speaks to Greg about what she discovered while caring for her father with dementia. She says we can actively reduce dementia in three key ways.
- Improving brain performance by challenging our learning and problem solving skills.
- Having meaningful and fulfilling social interactions.
- Maintaining physical activity
Dr Popovic tells the story of caring for her father. She says the day he suggested visiting a cousin in Serbia, she booked tickets. The transformation that occurred in his condition was due to his focus on positive experiences that came from being able to contribute and being treated as a hero by his family. The focus was no longer on what was wrong.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to regenerate. In years past, says Popovic, the brain was thought to be the only organ that can’t repair. This is not so and if we believe we have no hope we actively suppress our immune systems.
The good news is dementia is a lifestyle disease rather than a genetic lottery as many people think.