There is a cartoon that is sent around in emails every so often with the title of ‘Senior Moments’. Amongst the cartoons is a pie chart that has segments of ‘Sleeping, Working and Eating’, with a large piece of the pie devoted to ‘Looking For Things I Just Had a Minute Ago’.

Are there ever such cartoons for teenagers and younger children? Probably not!

If you are retired, that does not mean your brain needs to be retired. This is the time to keep it active and challenged.

Keeping the brain active is not just important, it is critical…for all ages. In his book, The Brain That Changes Itself’ , Dr Norman Doidge gives hope to older people in saying that the brain is a flexible, renewable, retrainable organ’.

We attended a lecture by Dr Doidge, and judging by the number of people that turned up (many had to stand, or sit on the floor), this is of immense interest to many.

Dr Doidge writes in his book, ‘We know that exercise and mental activity in animals generate and sustain more brain cells. And we have many studies confirming that humans who lead mentally active lives have better brain function. The more education we have, the more socially and physically active we are, and the more we participate in mentally stimulating activities the less likely we are to get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Whilst the man photographed above sitting at Milton Park in (beautiful) Bowral, is reading, he may not necessarily be challenging his brain.

‘Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration – studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading and dancing- are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting and golfing are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s’. (Dr Doidge)

As Dr Doidge notes,this, of course, does not necessarily prove that Alzheimer’s can be prevented with brain exercises.
The Alzheimer’s association has seven sign posts that say may reduce the risk of developing dementia.
These include:
*Mind Your Brain
*Mind Your Diet
*Mind Your Body
*Mind Your Health Checks
*Mind Your Social Life
*Mind Your Habits
*Mind Your Head

The booklet is a great resource and it is not just for pre and post retirees, but people of all ages would find it invaluable.

You may not want to start a Phd or learn Latin, but there are hundreds of other ways you can get the neurons jumping!!

So, retire, refire, renew!



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