I think about my Grandma from time to time, remembering her ability to recite poetry, remember numbers and unabashedly destroy me at Halma (strategic board game). My Oma was mentally sharp right up until her passing and I believe she was able to stay that way because she challenged her brain. Once when I visited her in Germany (she was 92 at the time) I asked her if I should phone her son to come over.
She had one of those phones that stores numbers so I picked it up and started searching for my uncle’s number. Then I hear her call from across the room, relaying a bunch of numbers follow by, “that’s Hanz’s number.” Inside I was like, ‘go grams!’
Not everyone is as lucky as my grandma though. Now a days conditions like Parkinsons, Dementia and Alzheimers are common among the elderly. These conditions rob people of their memories and mental faculties. As bleak as the future may seem for the aging, new science is redefining how the brain works and how it can heal. This is really, really exciting stuff. In some cases it’s possible to take back our brain and in the process, take back our life by challenging our mind and body. In the below video internationally renowned physician Dr. Norman Doidge talks with CBC host about the power of the brain and it’s incredible ability to adapt and heal.