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Category: Brain

Successful Aging and the Choices We Make

successful aging and the choicesSuccessful aging and the choices we make go hand in hand. I’m not sure about you, but I found I was faced with making more serious choices in my 50’s than at any other stage of my life. Retirement, health, insurance, living arrangements, children, grandchildren, income, appearance, religion… and what about my dreams? are just a few things. And yes, we think about these things all through the years, but they seem so much more intense during the 50’s. Do you feel this way or is it just me?

Of all the things I’ve read about or experienced in my own life, the aspect of aging that stands out the most to me is the power of personal choices. I lost my mom in her 77th year (2013) and it certainly caused me to evaluate a lot of things. I had been watching her for a number of years not really enjoying life since my dad died in 1999. She played games on the computer most of the day and night while smoking cigarette after cigarette. The doctors said there wasn’t much they could do because she refused to quit smoking, and she didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything (she wasn’t breathing well and at 5’7, weighed in her 80’s).

Successful Aging and the Choices We Make

Renowned Existential Psychologist, Rollo Reese May, was admitted to a sanitarium with tuberculosis in thesuccessful aging and the choices 1940’s. There was no cure for the disease at that time, and May began analyzing himself in relation to the disease. He realized that his healing was directly connected to passive/active participation. “Not until I developed some ‘fight,’ some sense of personal responsibility for the fact that it was I who had the tuberculosis, an assertion of my own will to live, did I make lasting progress” (May, 1972, p. 14; as cited in Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 344-345).

Like Dr. May, successful aging and the choices we make are inseparable. It suddenly came to him that the doctors had given him over for dead, and he had a choice to go along with that or fight for his life. Because he fought, his life became a blessing to so many, giving us answers to so many of life’s difficult questions.

successful aging and the choicesMy mom’s choices affected me in many ways. I saw she had a choice. She had good friends and a good community of people where she could have thrived. She went out now and then as a result of the persistence of her wonderful friends, and usually had a great time. She had talent and so much to offer. She just couldn’t break free. Deep down, I think she just wanted it to be over. It was her choice. She was good with it. I had to be, and embrace her where she was; and I did. Every woman has a choice and we must learn to find peace with those choices.

So ladies! What do you want for the next half-century of life? Successful aging and the choices YOU make can be the difference between thriving just getting through. Some of them won’t be easy. You have the ability to make them. You have the ability to make choices for your personal well-being. Love yourself first. Reach down and get in touch with the things you know are essential for your well-being. Write them down. Work on them one by one. Then you’ll have the ability to share your thriving self with your family and community. This is the key to successful aging and being a women over 50 who thrives.

Thrive! OK?

successful aging and the choices   

One more thing… it would be great if you could share your list of essentials for well-being in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you came up with. Others will benefit too…maybe they forgot something on their own list!

Feist, G., Feist, J. (2009) Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: Mc-Graw-Hill

How to Improve Your Memory and Increase Your Brain Health

How to Improve Your Memory and Increase Your Brain Health

I have read quite a bit of information pertaining to brain health, memory loss, and memory enhancement. I am going to list a general consensus of the top 5 ways on how to improve your memory and increase your brain health. These are confirmed by the Alzheimer’s Assoc., Psychology Today, brainhealth.gov and the AARP. They are in no particular order.

Healthy Diet

Exercise

Sleep

how to Improve Your Memory and

 Social Engagement

  Keeping Your Brain Active

HEALTHY DIET

Wherever you turn these days, there is a new diet being advertised. I am not going to advertise one here! Instead, I am going to appeal to what you already know. But please remember that a healthy diet rich in Omega 3’s is one of the best ways to increase memory and improve brain function.

  • Fruits and vegetables are tops.how to Improve Your Memory and
  • Whole grains, seeds, and nuts (easy on the nuts) are healthy.
  • Fish and poultry (mostly) and lean meats (occasionally) in 4 oz. portions are great protein sources.
  • Healthy fats like olive & coconut oil and organic butter (sparingly) are good.
  • A fish (krill) oil supplement is recommended to improve your memory. See my pick here.
  • NO soda! (One of the worst things to put into your body) regular OR diet.
  • Fried foods, chips, candy, alcohol – you know the list – are not good for you. ONCE in a WHILE in tiny doses if you must.

EXERCISE

how to Improve Your Memory andWe know this right? It’s a must ladies and it doesn’t have to be hard. I mean, did you read my blog on Laughter? It’s exercise!! That’s right. Anyway, you have to find something you enjoy that engages your body. Walking, gardening, yoga, cycling etc. are a few examples. It is particularly beneficial to get your heart rate up a bit because it increases blood flow to the brain. Brain health is what we want here right?

SLEEPhow to Improve Your Memory and

Your body rejuvenates while you sleep, and this includes your brain. Your brain ‘resets’ while you sleep, allowing you to gain fresh insight into problems and increasing your creativity. Your memory is enhanced, even by just 4 to 6 hours of good, sound sleep. Sleep tight!

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

how to Improve Your Memory andIt is good for your brain for you to be involved with other people. Volunteering brings feelings of happiness and well-being, increasing brain health. Social activities are linked to reduced risk for some health problems, including dementia.

 

KEEPING YOUR BRAIN ACTIVE

There are many ways to keep your brain active. One way is to continue learning. This is high on the list of increasing brain health. Finishing your degree, taking a class, reading abook, attending a seminar etc. are just a few examples. Here are some courses that may interest you. 

So there you have it! A healthy diet, some exercise, good sleep, social activity, and learning new things are a few ways answering how to improve your memory and increase your brain health! 

Remember girls, a little change can make a big difference! 

Thrive! OK? ….. how to Improve Your Memory

My Mother Had a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

My mother had received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and was in the early stages when she died five years ago. Little things happen that remind of her life on this earth, and I celebrate her each time.

“C’mon!” My girlfriend pleaded with the car in front of her. Then she noticed it was an elderly couple. “My friend at work calls them Q-Tips,” she said with a laugh. “Little white diagnosis of Alzheimer's Diseaseheads sticking up barely over the seat. “They shouldn’t be driving.”

I didn’t chuckle, agree, or disagree. All I could do is recall the incident that returned my mother to Massachusetts after living in Florida for twenty years. Fourteen of those years she lived without my dad, who died in 1999. She was never the same after that, and was in a pretty steady decline since.

Before the Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease – The Day Alzheimer’s Became a Reality

Then there was the infamous day she found herself sitting on a median on a Florida road, disoriented, her car all smashed up. She took a wrong turn somewhere, and kept backing into a tree trying to right herself. Her friend called 911 when she didn’t get the ritual ‘I made it home’ call. The helicopter found her sitting on the median. She lost her independence. She flew back home.diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

I tell this story because many of us women Over50 are touched by Alzheimer’s/Dementia. How do we thrive here? The definition of thrive according to Merriam-Webster is to grow or develop successfully: to flourish or succeed. I found the most important thing in dealing with my mom’s situation was to enjoy her presence and treat her with honor and respect. So what if she told the same story over and over. I laughed every time. So what if she was temperamental. I was her teen-age daughter once. The most important thing we can do in these situations is to get support, and that will look different for each of us. However, none of us thrive in isolation. We need each other. You need to hear other people’s stories and they need to hear yours. You need people to laugh with and cry with. I am posting the phone number for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (866-232-8484) in case you need direction. Please feel free to dialogue here in the comments section also.

 

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease – A Whole New World

diagnosis of Alzheimer'sWhen someone receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, a whole new world opens up; both for the one diagnosed and for those in their circle, everything changes. My mom died five years ago this June. She had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Thankfully, she didn’t lose all her capabilities. She told the same stories over and over, ones she enjoyed. Ones that made her laugh. She still had a wit about her. Continue reading…