‘The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.’ – Thomas A. Edison
Dear Mr Edison knew the importance of the brain in relation to our wellbeing, but did he understand the holistic nature of the health of our brain? I’m no doubting Thomas – ha, didn’t intend that, but it works – as I am sure he knew that brain health is not something that just happens. We need to work on it so that it has the best chance of staying healthy and productive right through our lives.
As we age, an almost universal concern is the possibility of reduced brain function, of the onset of dementia. University studies have difficulty pinning down causes due to the unknown length of time we have to maximise brain health. If we smoke in our 20s, does that condemn us or can we take measures in our 40s to counteract previous damage? Is it worth exercising in our 60s or do we just give up? Never!
Studies agree on a few things. The possibility of dementia is lessened:
- If we don’t smoke
- If we eat well
- If we exercise
- If we socialise
- If we use that heavy brain – learn new skills, do puzzles.
Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” – Julius Caesar
Here, Shakespeare puts us squarely in charge of our future, but did he know how important it is for us to take responsibility for our mental health as we age? Maybe not as he died at age 52, but he did emphasise that if we want the best, we must work for it.
Did you know that it is just as important to exercise your brain as your body? What? Scoff! Why? I hear you baulk. I use my brain all the time! You are probably thinking that your brain is fine, you can do math quickly, have a long attention span, remember long shopping lists, adapt easily to new situations and technology, and can multitask and problem solve like a pro without any hesitation – or at least enough to get through my day.
Your brain – like your body – is not something you should wait till it breaks and then try and fix it. Your brain needs more than accidental everyday work outs. It needs to be learning new things, and be subjected to stimulation and challenges to be kept at its peak performance level especially as we continue to age.
But I’m here to tell you, don’t let your brain just slump into old age. Don’t accept that as you get older your memory will go and you will confuse your children’s names. Do not go quietly into the night (sorry that was a little dramatic). Fight back!
What can you do? Where do you start? Like exercising your body, it’s not going to be easy, but that is where the library comes in. Rosanna Library has a Maker Space dedicated to Brain Health. You can come in any time and use the resources, or attend one of our courses. There are puzzles, books, games and iPads available anytime. So like a gym, you can come ‘work out’ on our equipment. Think of the librarians as your free personal trainers – without the lycra!
‘The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.’ ― Friedrich Nietzsche
No Friedrich, not good enough. We will be running a Brain Health course for an hour a week over six weeks exploring the areas thought to help us minimise dementia onset. This starts in May.
- Memory tips
- Mental agility
- Learning a new skill – we will teach you coding
- And more!
Take advantage of free expert speakers, library resources and kick start your year with a healthy brain. It’s fun and it may help you remember where you left your keys.
So, don’t be complacent. Go for a walk, eat more vegetables, learn coding, or Spanish, or Vietnamese cooking, join groups…. You’ve got nothing to lose but your memory.
Upcoming Event of Interest:
Below are a number of brain health websites which Alzheimer has recommended for Brain Health and a number of websites which are a lot of fun.