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Postcard from Sacramento: Alzheimer's 'looks like me, it looks like you'

Ana B. Ibarra, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

Montana and Coleman are still independent, and they have made lifestyle changes. They eat healthier, exercise more frequently and engage in activities that stimulate their brains.

Coleman said she has gradually become more involved with the Alzheimer's Association, participating in volunteer activities. That's how she learned about the panel. To stay sharp, she works on puzzles and sticks reminder notes in spots around the house. She still is able to drive -- a good thing, because one of Irwin's arms is in a sling right now. Irwin pitches in by handling the driving directions.

Montana keeps a journal and writes a blog. Her doctor had so many suggestions -- practice yoga, hit the gym, learn a new language -- that it was almost overwhelming.

Montana finally asked her which was the most important.

"My doctor told me, 'Do what makes you happy,'" she recalled during the panel, her eyes tearing up. "And that's what I would tell others. Don't look at a list. Do what works for you."

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