Monday, 30 July 2012

Use it or lose it - part 1

"Use it or lose it" is of particular significance to those of us who are over 60 - or are heading there rapidly.  I have already worked out what I will say in "Use it or lose it" parts 1 and 2, which will be about mind and body.  I am hoping that some other blogger will offer to guest blog for me and write about spirit or soul.  (Please, pretty please!) Alternatively, can anyone point me to an appropriate blog for part 3?

I think we all expect and accept that we will have a few problems with our short-term memory as we get older.  I remember sitting with a group of running friends when we were all in our forties and fifties, talking about "what's her name?".  We all knew whom we were talking about, but what was her name?   "I think it begins with M" was my contribution.  "Yes! Mary?  Marie?" was one response.  "Marianne?" " Melissa?"  We eventually agreed that it was Maureen and sighed with relief that our memories weren't too bad.

But is it inevitable?  Is there anything we can do to improve things?

6 down - 5 letters beginning with B

My mother always enjoyed doing crosswords and would sit with her "elevenses" of a cup of coffee and a biscuit every morning while trying to complete the crossword in her daily newspaper.  She could also beat everyone at Scrabble and - though sometimes we accused her of making up words - they were always in her dictionary.  Going into her eighties, Mum was still very sharp and aware  and it was only when I noticed that she was no longer doing the crossword at the age of 84 that I realised she was starting to age.  Sadly she died in her 85th year, but even at the end she didn't lose her sense of humour and love of life.

John and I didn't know much Spanish when we decided to move to a small Spanish town where hardly anybody speaks English.  We go to Spanish lessons twice a week with four British friends who are all over the age of 60.  We don't find it easy, and it is made more challenging by the fact that our Spanish teacher doesn't speak any English, but we agree that it is good to learn another language even at our advanced age.

So is it important to exercise your mind?  I think it is just as important as exercising your body and it helps to stave off boredom when you are no longer working.  Learn a new language.  Do a crossword or other puzzle. If you want to watch TV then watch quiz shows and see if you can beat them.  University Challenge anyone?


  1. I'm a great believer that you need to work the mind as well as the body. I have always done puzzles and made my brain work. After my breakdown several years ago my memory was the main thing that didn't fully recover and it frustrates me immensely. Not only do I forget what people have told me, I forget I've even had a conversation with them. Initially I struggled to cope with such a bad memory after previously having good memory retention but now I've learned to deal with it and make copious notes and plans.

  2. Jacqui, thanks for sharing your experience with us. John and I write everything in a joint desk diary in case we forgot something important. When I worked in an office before retiring to Spain, I was a great Post-It fan. People thought I was very organised, but little did they know that it was the Post-Its organising me!