When I think back on the person I was in 2012, I’m haunted by two regrettable truths.
The first is that I faced the same threat of dementia all of us do, and it’s a grave threat indeed. Almost everyone I know either has lost a loved one to dementia or is dealing with it in their extended family right now.
The second is that what I knew about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is what most Americans know. Virtually nothing.
So when dementia came to claim my mother, I was woefully uneducated and unprepared.
I did what so many people do when confronted by this horrible disease. I denied it. I failed to recognize the warning signs. I desperately hoped it was something else. As the reality became impossible to ignore, I let my lack of knowledge paralyze me.
I didn’t know what to do, and I ended up not doing nearly enough.
But I am not that person today. And my only goal is to help you not be that person, whether you are dealing with cognitive decline, or you have a loved one who is.
Knowledge is what changed me.
I knew knowledge is power, and I was sick and tired of feeling so powerless. So I set out to learn everything I possibly could about how the brain works, what causes cognitive decline and what we can all do to prevent it, or at least delay it for as long as possible.
I should make it clear, I’m not a physician, or a neurologist or a geriatrician. I am a journalist. I’ve been a newspaper editor for more than 30 years, and as news migrated to the web, I became a digital journalist. I now serve as an online editor for a major East Coast news organization.
At first, my mission was purely personal. I set out to educate myself. But as a journalist, I soon realized that I had a special opportunity — an obligation, really — to help others by sharing this information with them.
So in May 2016, I launched a column devoted to brain health, prevention of dementia and successful aging. My column appears on NJ.com and in the Star-Ledger. In my first column, which I dedicated to the memory of my mother, I talked about my determination to protect myself from dementia and help others do the same. If you’re interested in knowing more about my personal story, here’s that inaugural column.
Thousands of people read my column, and I remain committed to serving them. But there are others I want to serve as well.
The more I learned about brain health, the more I saw an important need.
Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. That’s alarming enough.
But there’s another, even larger population that I see an opportunity to serve. It’s the roughly 7 million to 9 million Americans who have mild cognitive impairment.
If you have been diagnosed with MCI, this web site is devoted to you. If offers a pathway for coping with cognitive loss.
To Go Cogno is to become educated and take action. This site is designed to inform you, but even more importantly, it offers a path you can follow to help protect your cognition. I invite you to begin that journey now.