It’s hard to keep our bodies going as we age; it is also important that we keep our brains healthy. How can we do that? Use them! Learn something new! Don’t think you are too old to learn. Remember, we all have times we forget names and addresses and where we put our car keys. There are many things we can do to exercise our brains. Here are some ideas:
Go out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Have you always wanted to play an instrument? Take lessons. Do you have a secret passion? Look for ways to fulfill that dream.
Another way to keep our brains engaged is to volunteer. I know many places in and around the area that are looking for volunteers. If you are not that mobile, check to see if someone needs envelopes stuffed or newsletters readied for mailing.
If you are unable to get out, put a puzzle together, do a crossword, write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Call up a friend and ask how his or her day is going. You would be surprised how many people would love to hear from you.
If you want to go out, call a neighbor. Maybe he needs something from WalMart. Maybe you can get a small group together to go out for a meal.
Join a group with similar interests. Being around people is a good brain stimulator. Get a good conversation going. Remember, you do not have to agree with everything others say. Let your opinion be heard. I personally enjoy annoying people with my off-the-wall ideas!
Try to avoid negative people. They will bring you down. The truth is, some people are only happy when they are unhappy or making other people unhappy.
Exercise is also a good way to keep the brain active. Walking with a group can be uplifting and a good way to bounce your ideas off others. They are a captive audience!!!
Don’t be a grump. Be upbeat! Be silly! Everyone won’t appreciate your humor; but some will and be uplifted by it.
Get a pet. As we age, we sometimes feel that no one needs us. Perhaps our mates are gone. Our children are raised. Of course, if we are lucky enough to have grandchildren; they have their own lives. A pet will give you companionship and a sense of knowing that it needs you in its life. A pet also gives you something else to think about. It will give you unconditional love.
I guess what I am saying is, ‘Don’t give in to the brain-aging process. Fight it all the way!’ Also, remember to keep smiling. It makes people wonder what you are up to!
The writer is the executive director of the Sidney-Shelby County Senior Center.