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Lifestyle Changes Provide Stress Relief

A grandmother learns to cope with health challenges

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Muriel Alexandrowski and her husband, Joseph, are raising their two grandsons — one 16 and still at home, the other 20 and a college sophomore.

Mr. Alexandrowski has health challenges. Originally diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, he now has difficulty organizing his thoughts and activities, prioritizing tasks, managing time efficiently and making decisions. Though his physicians have since ruled out Alzheimer’s, they haven’t yet determined the cause of his illness.

A healthy makeover

Long a believer in preventive healthcare, Mrs. Alexandrowski realized after her husband’s diagnosis that she needed to make some lifestyle changes.

“I knew I would have to be strong and that I would need to get younger, not older, to take care of him in addition to our grandsons,” she says.

Over the course of a year and under the guidance of her physician, Michael F. Roizen, MD, Wellness Institute Chairman, Mrs. Alexandrowski lost 40 pounds and eliminated other health problems such as high cholesterol and a risk of diabetes. Dr. Roizen monitors her health closely, and she apprises him regularly of her progress. Accountability gives her the impetus she needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle, she says.

Supporting wellness

She’s now passionate about heading to the gym, logs 11,000 steps daily and eats only whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish.

“Before, I would eat to try and make myself feel better. Now I’m eating much healthier, so I don’t have sugar spikes,” she says.

“All of this has shown me better ways to manage my stress. I take a walk or meditate when I feel anxious or worried. I’ve learned that when all the emotions come flooding in, it’s best to just let them go. Don’t harbor them.”

Grateful for the lifestyle changes, Mrs. Alexandrowski made a major gift last year to the Wellness Institute to help support the types of initiatives that helped her get healthy.

“I definitely don’t know where I would be without it,” she says. “I want my gift to help more people change their lives as I have changed mine.”

Tags: #onememory, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's awareness month 2012, Alzheimer’s disease, Catalyst
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