A great deal has been written lately about how to keep the brain stimulated as we age. Everything from crossword puzzles to trivia games can provide the stimulation necessary to keep the memory from going south ahead of schedule. Someday, many of us will reach that stage where we often can't think of the right word when speaking or writing and there may also be times when a familiar name escapes us. However, we would all like to put such experiences off for as long as possible.
It is common to think that memory loss and Alzheimers's are one in the same. However, a person can have serious short-term memory loss and not have any failing in the area of mental-intellectual capacity and functionality. Recently one such gentleman, a very young 95, put it this way: “I haven't lost my memory. She's right over there. " (Pointing at his wife. ) Then off he went to work at his volunteer job.
Longevity can bring challenges. What everyone would like to support is a sustained quality of life to match the newly forming statistics regarding quantity of life. One way to keep memory from sliding is to stimulate it in a useful way. Volunteer work is high on the list of opportunities to hone old skills and acquire new ones. In most retirement centers, phones need to be answered and accurate data needs to be given out. Tables need to be waited on and food orders kept straight. Switchboards need to be covered during the lunch hour and the checkout counters in campus grocery stores, thrift shops, and gift shops need to be attended.
A side affect to stimulating the memory through active volunteer work is the emotional jump-start that can happen from actually being needed. Most of us don't know, unless we have felt obsolete, how invigorating the simple premise of actually being needed can be. Not busy work, necessary work.
Many public schools are now using retirees to work with the reading-challenged. There are private nursery schools that now provide the “grandparent-factor" by offering volunteers the chance to participate in their programs. Some even encourage hands-on cuddling! How healing for all!
We can't separate memory from self worth. . . or intellectual capacity from physical activity. Youthfulness has many facets. We are all a combination of many different skills and attitudes. When we beef up one system, all systems prosper. Withdrawal is the enemy. Sitting in front of the TV and giving up is the fertilizer of the downward spiral.
Families can play a very important part in finding out what's available, locally, and supporting an elder's curiosity. The staff members of retirement communities can offer all kinds of suggestions. Peers can counsel peers. When doors open, expansion is an option.
Most of all, it's a matter of not knowing. What an elevated state that is! How can we learn if we think we already know? Read up on what can be done to improve memory. Learn what physical exercises stimulate the mind as well as the body. Talk it up and share what you learn. Maybe at first to aid your own aging parents, but not always. It's an opportunity to come into the sunset years better prepared your self.
Luise Volta's life has included careers in nursing, teaching preschool, interior design, real estate sales, insurance adjusting, and dairy herd cow testing. She helps people with a wide array of subjects, including relationship problem advice, aging wisely, career advice, death and afterlife, free financial information, helping others, home and garden, mental health, motivation and success, nutrition and health , parenting development, pets, self-acceptance, sexuality, spirituality, techniques of conflict resolution, troubled teenagers, values and beliefs, RV advice, senior RV camping and camping clubs. Visit MomResponds.com for free advice .