by Mary K. Miller,
Photos by Amy Snyder
you ever found yourself running late, desperately looking for misplaced
car keys? Did you ever stride purposefully into a room, only to
forget why you're there? Maybe you've even wondered whether misplacing
your glasses or forgetting where you parked the car meant something
more serious —you may have worried about getting senile or
showing the first stages of Alzheimer's disease.
to experts, these relatively minor memory lapses are perfectly normal.
People with Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that
affects 10 percent of the population over age sixty-five, have very
serious memory deficits, such as forgetting their children's names
or getting lost on the street where they live. For the rest of us,
our brains will just show the routine signs of aging, in much the
same way that our bodies will develop wrinkles and achy joints.
On the whole,
mental capacity is fairly stable during the adult years, though
a slow drop in reaction time does occur. The first noticable decline
happens when people reach their sixties. Still, there are things
we can do to keep our minds agile and our memories alive. In this
article, we'll look at the lifestyles and techniques used by an
inspirational group of seniors dedicated to exercising their minds.
Along the way, we'll also explore the science of memory and aging
with Art Shimamura, a professor and memory expert at the University
of California at Berkeley.