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 …..is 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 !!!