Sunday, May 8, 2011

Senior Moments

I often use a cast iron pan.  Mine have been around a lot longer than any nonstick coating pan.  They are easy to clean when well seasoned--a wipe out, a rinse with water, another wipe out usually does the trick.  Sometimes I put the wet pan on a lit burner to dry it out and/or give it another light coating of oil.

The other day I left the burner on and went into the other room to watch TV.  I could smell something "hot" and I even felt warm, but I never made the connection until Mike came upstairs and found a glowing red pan sitting on the gas stove.

This bothered me less for the house burning down potential and more for the senility setting in probability.

I was adding it to the  recent incident of finding that I had two left handed rubber gloves and not being able to figure out right away that one was turned inside out.  Yikes!

Is it possible to still have blonde moments even after turning gray?

I got on the computer and searched "brain, aging."  God love the boomer generation.  There is all kinds of information on boosting brain power.  Although to a cynical mind a lot of it appears to be predicated on the widespread fear of dementia in boomers and conveniently  designed to get us to part with some of our retirement savings,  there is valuable information as well.

Here's what I gleaned from my reading so far.

  1. Eat healthy.  Aim for whole foods, not too much meat, lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.  Sugar is really bad.  Omega 3s and green tea are really good.  Get lots of the B vitamins.
  2. Supplements are readily available and lurking not far behind the eat healthy advice.  How many times are we exhorted to eat a more healthy diet and how often does it actually happen.  Supplements are big business and there are many being marketed as "brain boosting."  This is not in any way to say that supplements might not be worthwhile.  I've been a Prevention Magazine groupie forever.  So if you don't or can't eat the optimal diet, you can get pill forms of all the B-vitamins, omega oils, CoQ10, DMAE, Gotu Kola, Folic acid, etc., etc.
  3. Stay connected to others and maintain a social network.  Hey, if nothing else this makes it more likely that someone is going to notice sooner rather than later if you start to drop the bucket.
  4. Exercise your body.
  5. Exercise your mind.  There are sites where you can play "brain games" and sites where you can order (purchase) complete, "personalized" brain fitness programs.  Have to say, the one that offered a free trial for only $14.95 kind of hurt my brain a little bit.
  6. In the exercise vein, there are books such as:
  • Will Shortz: Sudoku
  • Lawrene Katz: Keep Your Brain Alive
  • Gary Small: Improve Your Memory Now
  • Elizabeth Miles: Tune Your Brain (about the role of music in brain boosting)

I am not endorsing these books, just giving examples of what can be found.  The exercise approach makes a certain amount of sense to me--the use it or lose it thing.  Apparently the brain likes surprise.  I have even read that brushing your teeth with the "other" hand is supposed to  forge new cell connections.  (Having not strong dominance, I have always switched my toothbrush back and forth between hands, so this will most likely not do anything for me.)

I'm off to check my stove one more time and then I'm sitting down to read some Kafka.


  1. Lately my brain has felt over-exercised, just keeping track of everything I need to get done. Does that count?

  2. I try to eat healthy, play games when I can, always try something new to stretch myself. I still forget the small stuff and that is something that only can be repaired with estrogen.

  3. Dear Olga, I can tell from your writing that your brain is not diminished. And - your advise is sound. PS That said - check the stove...

  4. My husband left our iron frying pan on the electric stove a few months ago. I heard this C-R-A-C-K! Did you know that they cracked? I never had heard of that! Yikes! You are not the only one forgetting!!

  5. I am notorious for forgetting the water I have on to boil for the hummingbird nectar. I set the timer, then go outside. Duh.
    Now I clip a timer to my jeans. We just adjust.

  6. Ahhh yes, those scary leaving-pan-on-stove happenings. -sigh-

    Gentle hugs,

  7. You are not losing it!!! You just got distracted. Happens all the time. My favorite saying is I loose more than I find in a day!!! My mom was a good one for forgetting the frying pan on the stove, only her's always had grease in it!!! She'd come from where ever, see the flamming pan, open the kitchen window, put a towel over her arm to prevent flaming splatters and throw the whole works out the window. We were so used to grease fires at home, I could tell when the smoking grease was at the point of combustion.

  8. I'm sure that you are not losing you facilities! You just forgot about the pan. I did that when I was in my 20's. Forgetfulness does not always equal dementia.

  9. When I do something like that it scares me to death. In the past, I would have thought it was because I was overworked, now I think I'm losing it - my mind, that is.

  10. Crossword puzzles are my favorite brain exercise. You know how we older folks have trouble remembering names and words that we haven't dredged up in years? Crossword puzzles force you to unearth those words. The better ones also require flexible thinking and problem solving as you deal with clues that are puns and other clues that are less than straightforward. I highly recommend crossword puzzles!

  11. Ah yes, forgetfulness. For me it's the little things like where did I put my purse last week? Doing all the things you listed and still find myself wondering. I enjoy doing puzzles but my favourite is searching the www for neat new ideas. And blogging keeps me alert!


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