JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Dementia affects 50 million people worldwide and 55,000 people in Mississippi.
New guidelines published by World Health Organization say it’s never too soon to start trying to prevent early dementia.
The number of dementia cases is expected to almost triple by 2050.
One person who knows the disease all too well is Cindy Widdig.
“My grandmother had Alzheimer’s. She lived with it for 15 years. I knew something was off when she forgot where to put things in the house,” said Widdig.
That's just the beginning of the disease that affects millions.
Because of that, the disease is a top priority for World Health Organization for reducing the risks.
The new guidelines suggest putting down the pills, and focusing more on living a healthier lifestyle.
Eating clean foods, staying fit, avoiding tobacco products and managing blood pressure were just a few of the recommendations.
Widdig was her grandmother’s personal caretaker for the last few years of her life.
“She was the best grandmother," she said. "She adored me, I adored her. She was sweet, loving, kind, always gave to others. I learned all that from her so I never had a doubt about bringing her home to live with me.”
Widdig says when times were tough, she remembered one important thing.
“I would crawl up in the bed with her and hold her hand. She was still my grandmother. She just loved us so much. She cared and would have done anything for us. I told myself I will not just give up on her.”
Because of Widdig’s love and dedication to helping her grandmother, she took a job working as the Director of Programs for Alzheimer’s Association of Mississippi.
“I just want to help people. We are here for you. I don’t want people to struggle alone like I did.”
If you or a loved one has been impacted by dementia, Widdig offers one important piece of advice.
“Hang in there, let friends and family help. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Just roll with it, because it is going to be okay!”