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Greene County Public Health to Host New Program for Reducing the Risk of Dementia

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JEFFERSON, Iowa – More than 7 million Americans suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease in 2020. That number is predicted to climb to over 9 million by 2030 and to nearly 12 million by 2040. Dementia is devastating to an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, social and financial well-being. However, mounting evidence shows simple lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 70 percent.

In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association and the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, Greene County Public Health will be hosting two sessions of the 10-week program, Unlocking Brain Fitness: Keys to Dementia Prevention. Developed by Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, Iowa Epidemiologist Emeritus, and Dr. Yogesh Shah, geriatrician and Chief Medical Officer at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, the program draws on scientific, evidence-based research, including that conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization. The course provides participants with the information, resources and support needed to adopt positive lifestyle behaviors.

“While there is no cure for dementia, we have a growing body of evidence pointing to the fact that many dementias can be delayed or even prevented,” says Becky Wolf, Director of Greene County Public Health. “Over the course of 10 weeks, our community-based educational event will guide participants through a series of programs that help them identify risk factors, manage chronic disease and make lifestyle changes that can preserve their memory and cognitive skills.”

Each week the class will focus on one of the behavior risk factors associated with dementia, including: diet and nutrition, exercise, sleep, medication, chronic disease management, cognitive function, socialization, water intake, hearing and handling of stress. Participants will work with dietitians, pharmacists, fitness professionals and wellness coaches.

KEYS is designed for those 55 and over who DO NOT have a diagnosis of dementia or significant cognitive decline. All classes will meet at the Greene County Community Center and are led by Wolf and Deb Hoskins, RN. The next sessions will be held every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. beginning February 28, running through May 2. Registration is $20 per person and can be done by contacting Greene County Public Health at 515-386-3228.