Alanna Shaikh's dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2005. Still alive, he needs help getting dressed, help eating and he doesn't know where he is.
This has been very hard on Alanna and on other family members.
As she says in this touching video from the 2012 TEDGlobal Conference, there are 35 million people globally living with dementia and this number is expected to double by 2030.
Alanna is doing all the things she knows about to prevent Alzheimer's. She's eating the right foods, exercising and keeping her mind active. But she knows that research shows nothing will 100 percent protect her and that Alzheimers tends to run in families.
So Alanna is also preparing for the worst. As with all of us, there is a possibility she too will get Alzheimer's. She puts it this way, "If the monster wants you, the monster is going to get you."
Based on what Alanna's learned from taking care of her father, she's focusing on three areas: (1) building up her physical strength and balance, (2) changing what she does for fun and (3) trying to become a better person.
Over 380,000 people have watched Alana's TED video so far, but this is not nearly enough!
If you worry at all about getting dementia, you should watch this and learn from it, which is why we are posting it here.
About Alanna Shaikh
TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh is a global health and development specilist with a vendetta against jargon. On her blog, Blood and Milk, she aims to make global development issues both accessible and understandable. In her TED Book, What's Killing Us, she explains the biggest challenges in global wellness -- from HIV/AIDS to the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics -- in a way that anyone can understand. Earlier this year, she co-founded AidSource, a social network for aid workers. She is also the co-founder of the group SMART Aid, which educates donors and start-up projects about international aid.
Alanna Shaikh is especially interested in Alzheimer's, as she has watched her father deteriorate from the disease over the past 12 years. But she says the experience has not sent her into denial—she plans to be prepared for the genetically transmitted disease, should it ever arrive.
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