Like many people, I have hoped for a long and fruitful life, but now I’m reconsidering.  New statistics show that 50% of Nonagenarians suffer from Alzheimer’s or other brain deterioration diseases.  How scary is that?

I try my best to enhance my brain power with brain-boosting exercises; I study Spanish; I do crosswords and word jumbles; I eat healthy food. I walk three or four times a week (admittedly, only on some weeks); I lead art tours; I do research; I’m writing a mystery; several of my short stories have been published; I watch Jeopardy, and often I surprise myself by being right up there with the answers—though when it comes to most sports, rock bands and TV sitcoms, I have no clue.

Even so, my memory continues to falter. I find myself running out to the garage for something and finding I can’t remember what I wanted so desperately. I leave home to do errands, and when I reach the bottom of the hill, I ask myself, “And where are you headed today?”  If a friend recommends a book or a movie, unless I immediately write the title down, it disappears within seconds. During conversations, I forget the names of well-known personages and events; the names do eventually pop into my mind-often in the middle of the night.

I used to have a terrific memory.  I could repeat whole conversations, word for word; I could detail happenings as if I were still there. In college I would regale my roommates with an action by action retelling of my latest date.

My husband often complained, “How come you remember everything I ever did wrong?”  I suspect this type of comment is made by most married men; they don’t hold grudges for as long as we do.

What’s strange is that my son seems to remember his childhood differently than I do.  I’m often shocked to hear his account of past events.  My answer: “I said what?” or “I did what—no way.”  But once, after he argued that I attended Boston University with my husband, I nailed him.  Of course I didn’t; I know what colleges I attended.  Just don’t ask me that question when I’m ninety.

Currently, PBS is airing Use Your Brain to Change Your Age.

I’m definitely going to watch.

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  1. I bet if you really tried, you could remember those dates, action by action.

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