Anne Diamond: Losing our minds as well as those keys?
PUBLISHED: 12:15 03 January 2017
Keeping our brain sharp - and helping ageing legs pedal uphill - is the talk of a generation... as long as we remember where we put that bike
Joking about having a “senior moment” doesn’t seem quite so funny any more. You know how we all ( at almost any age) go upstairs to get something only to find, on the top stair, you have totally forgotten what it was you so badly needed? Or forgetting where you left the car keys or mobile phone?
A friend of mine called in to the enormous Westfield shopping centre on the way home from London the other day, forgot where she’d parked, and spent an hour and a half and some very embarrassing conversations with security staff, trying to find it. When she got home flustered, stressed and exhausted and her family demanded to know why the heck she was late for supper, all she could do was snap at them and dissolve in tears. At that point, instead of being able to laugh it off, she looked at herself in the mirror and worried.
At a certain age, should you regard this sort of incident as a possible warning sign of something dire? We live in a world, thank goodness, where we consider it a great idea to talk about previously taboo subjects. And so my friend, who lost her own mother to dementia, worried all night that perhaps she was showing early signs. When she called me to vent, I calmed her down by telling her that we all have such moments, and not to worry.
But was I right to do so? It’s a horrid reality, but it’s the talk of my age group - how to keep your brain sharp. Use it or lose it, we’ve all been told, by the experts who’d have us all running five miles before breakfast fruit salad and a game or two of sudoku before bicycling to work. Mmm. I’ll concede fruit for breakfast and I play the piano rather than do maths.
Plus I’ve treated myself to a new bike. It’s one of those with an optional boost to help you up the hardest hills. You should see the faces of those who probably think - look at that old biddy out on her bike - and then see me zoom past them as they huff and puff uphill. It’s great and, believe me, you still have to put in plenty of sweaty leg work. (It just guarantees that you’ll get home!) Staying on top of your game is more important than ever nowadays surely, since glamour and celebrity is not only on our TV, in our magazines, but now even in the White House….I jest.
God forbid we should all have to live to such values. But there’s no doubt about it, we are all living longer, working longer and harder than ever before and the need to look after our own brain and body is key. The latest super-powered brain food is reckoned to be something called “BLackAdder”. Its a type of blackcurrant from New Zealand that apparently has neurotransmitter chemicals that affect mood and cognition and can reduce mental decline ,even possibly helping treat brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or depression.
I’m off to find out how on earth you’re meant to get hold of the stuff on this side of the planet, even with a super-power bike. Until then, it’s another handful of broccoli, pumpkin seeds, nuts and leafy greens! Good health!