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SENIOR SOURCE: Healthy aging vs. Alzheimer's and dementia — how to know the difference

According to DSHS, 400,000 Texans or more struggle with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith Co. separates healthy aging from degenerative brain disease.

TYLER, Texas — As we get older, it's understandable to have concerns about what is healthy aging and what could be something more serious. Alzheimer's Disease and dementia are not considered part of the normal aging process, according to the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County.

This week, our Senior Source partner explains the difference between healthy aging changes and when you should seek medical assistance for you or someone in your family.

"Normal aging, as we know, by the age of 30, we start seeing signs of normal aging. You know, our skin, possibly bones having bone issues as we age," says Luanne Harms, LCSWDirector of Education with the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County. "So normal aging, you know, people shouldn't be concerned just because they can't remember what they did with their keys. However, if you don't know what your keys are for, that would be something that would be a concern."

You may be asking yourself, 'how can I keep my brain healthy?'

"I always say heart health is brain health. This is a three pound organ in our brain, and it's the most important organ that we have. And so, you know, when you look at what is heart health, heart health is Mediterranean diet, an easy diet to follow — fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins. If you smoke, try to quit smoking, manage your cholesterol and also diabetes and heart disease," explains Harms.

The Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County is here to help. You can contact them at (903) 509-8323.