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Towards the end of 2023

Do the years pass quicker as we get older? It certainly feels that way. We are almost at the end of 2023, skidding towards 2024 at a frightening speed.

It has been a productive year for me in terms of dementia work and at the same time an hiatus after finishing my PhD thesis at the end of last 2022. I presented a series of Dementia Dialogues at Nazareth House in Cape Town and recorded several short clips for a new blog at www.letstalkdementia.co.za. The in-person dialogues were such a wonderful journey of discovery with a diverse group of wonderful people. We will continue this in the new year – do join us if you can!

I commit to more writing on this platform in 2024 – do hold me to it if I forget… It is interesting to see how many blogs and websites have suddenly appeared around dementia, making me realise how big the need is for engagement around this topic. Please feel free to email me at raynestroebel@mindsmatter should you have any specific questions or topics that you would like me to explore.

I became acutely aware this year of the toll on those who care for people living with dementia. Not that I have not been aware of it in the past, but somehow I was just contacted by so many families desperately needing help and advice. I also noticed more and more the impact of unresolved trauma on neurocognitive impairment. And the reluctance to find psychological help for families and individuals who have been recently diagnosed. It is my advice that EVERY single person who received a diagnosis of dementia should IMMEDIATELY find a good psychotherapist. Neuroplasticity allows us to build new, strong neurological pathways that can often ‘circumvent’ damaged areas and create brain reserves that can lessen the impact of neurological atrophy.

What I also became newly aware of this year is the impact of nutrition on the brain, and the gut-brain connection, thanks to the PhD research study of Dr. Lizette Kuhn (who I am proud to call a friend and colleague). Whilst we are still a long way from truly understanding what causes dementia, we have more than enough evidence on what can be done to lower the risk of developing dementia. And that with optimally healthy lifestyle changes we can create a healthier brain, regardless of our age.

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