Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sky: Good Coach

A lot has been written lately about ways to “prevent” or “delay” dementia --

24 researchers in a study recently published in the Lancet reviewed the literature and found that the following factors impact dementia risk:
Avoiding or treating hearing loss in mid-life
Diabetes and obesity
Getting an education (remaining in school after the age of 15)
Getting physical exercise
Not smoking
Reducing depression and social isolation
Reducing high blood pressure 

I was surprised to see that keeping the brain busy did not make the list. I thought “use it or lose it” was common knowledge when it comes to physical and mental fitness as we age. Dr. P puts physical exercise at the top of the list, and I tend to agree with him. I notice how quickly I tend to lose bodily fitness when I’m not keeping active. Why should brain fitness be any different? So, I will just (very unscientifically) fold brain fitness into the physical exercise category, above.

For my physical self, I do Yoga, eat well, and try to ride my bike a lot.

The brain fitness program is where the fun comes in. My son, Sayer, showed up a while ago with The Mammoth Book of Brain Boosters, designed to give your brain the ultimate workout every day of the year! Inside are hundreds of puzzles. Math puzzles. Logic puzzles. Language puzzles. Visual puzzles. Spatial puzzles.

[Too many of them resemble the tests at the neurologist’s office, where the problems get harder and harder and harder until you die.]

It’s a subtle business, trying to keep my brain as exercised as possible without burning out.

And let me tell you, a burned out brain on the dementia continuum … not a pretty sight!! The key is a coach who can see the big picture and the small picture at the same time. Someone who can set out challenging rules, and then enforce them as needed. Someone who can appreciate a difficult problem, and give appropriate support. Someone being patient and encouraging and steady. And someone who can keep on having a GOOD TIME.

I’ve got them all in my coach.

Thanks, Sayer !!!


  1. Sky: I just sat down and read your blog enteries from start to finish. This is an amazing and oh so intimate gift you are giving to those who know and care about you. I can say with certainty that even those of us who have lived on the outer circles of your life are very fond of you, and send you our love.

  2. I do enjoy your posts every time! Thanks, Sky <3

  3. Sky, and Jane, I have just read the last three months worth of your blog, and I feel very grateful for what you are doing. You are both excellent writers -- articulate, perceptive, entertaining. I had not visited the blog for a while (life got in my way), so I appreciate your email reminders. Keep up your good work! I will be following more closely now.

  4. Eight or ten years ago I went for memory testing because I was worried, because my mother had Alzheimer's. The person I saw said there was no detectable impairment, and emphasized physical activity, saying that what's good for physical health is good for brain health. I told her I did crossword puzzles, kenken, etc. She didn't think doing puzzles would prevent or delay Alzheimer's at all. However, I continue to do puzzles -- because I like them!!

    In this season of gratitude, I should take a moment to thank you, Sky and Jane both, for sharing the joys and challenges of this journey. I see it through the lens of my experiences with my mother, and not knowing what the future will bring. I am so touched and inspired by the kindness that underlies all of your writings. Sending you love and gratitude.

  5. No surprise there that Sayer is a fabulous coach (teacher, too). So glad he is so close geographically!
    Mary Y.