Monday, December 24, 2007

The Brain and Dementia

Have you wondered why some old folks remain mentally alert while their peers have short attention spans, repeat themselves, suffer forgetfulness - the usual signs of old age and dementia?

Studies confirm what many of us already know- to retain our mental sharpness, we need to be mentally stimulated. It works on the same principle as physical exercise. To keep fit, we need to run or walk. We carry weights to strengthen our muscles. Our brain, too, functions in a similar fashion. The more we exercise the brain, in this case, through mental activity, the sharper it becomes.

Old people should not give up mental exertion. Deng Xiao Ping, the father of China’s opening and modernization lived until his late eighties or early nineties. Like many old people in China, he spent his time playing Chinese chess, when he was not working on national matters. The game requires full concentration and excellent memory. You need to think ahead of your opponent, make the right strategies for the wrong move could spell disaster.

If you're not into mental games, get involved in things just to be occupied. Participate in church activities, spend time with little ones, get involved in ballroom dancing, learn things that interest you or travel - anything you have a passion for. Remember, there's nothing more pathetic than a fuddled, old mind.

No comments: