Getting Old vs. Being Old, Part II: Cognitive Decline

bgmacaw

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Do what you enjoy doing...

keeftelle.JPG
 

Bill

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Been there. My wife and I started feeling meh at 40, even though we had intellectually challenging jobs.

So we went to grad school at night together and graduated a few years later.

We felt meh again at 50, so we moved to London and I began writing for a guitar magazine.

Felt meh again a couple years ago at 60. Then we designed and built our own apartment (naturally, with huge help from an architect and builders etc!) But we did the initial designs, and made the final decision on every wall, outlet, doorknob, lighting, hinge, plumbing, reclaimed floors and how they should be laid and sanded, paints, furnishings--everything--even to co-designing our own furniture and joinery.

All those things kept us learning new skills and seeing new things that really opened up our minds and our enthusiasm. Kept the mehs away.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Often when I learn a new skill, I get a desire to stop everything and head into this new skill full throttle, thinking I could make it a career & find real success with it. Then I tell myself I am 58 & intend to retire in 5 years and that I am stupid for wanting to start over when I am so close to the finish line for the race I am in today. Seems I still have the desire, but the circumstances surrounding my drive are not ideal to implement said drive.
 

uriah1

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I retiredwhen that plague thingyu hit. So all my ideas went out the window.
Did the house cleaning thingy, goodwill drops etc. picked
up a couple more small hobbies..but... needed brain activity so
went back to work..very part time...more camping.but mate still works. Fly fishing.
putting ideas together....everyday above ground is a good day..so trying more. Still practice and learn new songs every week for acoustic act with no gigs. lol
adding in gratitude, etc. what I do do.
I expect more..
 
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NWinther

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I am still learning new stuff, just for the fun of it.....but I am taking it easy on purpose.
As the rush of excitement far too often leads to cockups.....
Somehow since I was a kid I have taken it easy in many ways.
Some stuff I took on in a hurry, mostly because I wanted to particitate with my friends.

Stuff like music is an endless thing, you never finish it, same thing with my lifelong fondness of photography.
And I like the experience more than being merely "good" at it.
Being too excited also means that the intrest burns out faster.

And age helps in many ways, you stop rushing as you now know time will get you in the end, and I will not allow my mind to get to lazy and just do the same things everyday, that is the real trap of getting old.
So I try to mix up the daily stuff up with different things to do, same when I drive around, I enjoy taking a different road home if I can.
Keeps your curiosity awake.

And I still read alot, and most importenly...ignore the comings and goings of trends and such....those are not really worth the time and effort.
 

Chester P Squier

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Don't discount that the last couple of years have been very difficult for most of us, the world over, that could be a contributing factor subconsciously if nothing else. Couple this with the fact that you (and the rest of us) are getting older, simply adds to it all. As others have already said, you should keep an eye on your T levels from this point forward, if you're not already doing so. Try to find hobbies. For me it was building my 51 Nocaster that really kicked it in gear for me, and I've built several guitars since then, and that was 4 years ago. Never did anything like it before but this forum motivated me to try it, and today she's my #1 guitar :)

You'll likely also start prioritizing your life, and begin to start thinking more and more on what's most important to you vs. "ruling the world" like your younger self was probably striving for. It's like the old saying "With age comes wisdom"... if you see what I mean. Chin up man! You'll settle into it all in your own way. It will be aok ;)
I don't know if it was the two years in semi-seclusion, or if the semi-seclusion made me notice it more, but when our church choir started back up earlier this year, I felt old climbing up into the choir loft. Plus, now, I'm in my mid-70s

My mother developed Alzheimer's, as did one of her brothers. That brother's son died with Alzheimer's a year or two ago. So, I feel I'm at risk. I have learned that music is good for the brain. I do play my guitars almost daily, and it's pleasurable. My self-indulgence in music will, hopefully, stave off dementia.

In addition, I occasionally lead music at worship services at a Senior Living center with my guitar, using a 30-year-old hymnal. Some of the hymns are challenging and I have to sit down at the piano to determine what the chord are. Then, I determine which are underlying chords and which are simply passing tones. And this can be a brain-exercising puzzle, hopefully.

So, play on!
 

Telekarster

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I don't know if it was the two years in semi-seclusion, or if the semi-seclusion made me notice it more, but when our church choir started back up earlier this year, I felt old climbing up into the choir loft. Plus, now, I'm in my mid-70s

Yep, and you're not alone. I too am not quite as "spunky" as I was a mere 2 years ago, and the same is true for a lot of folks I know. I think the last 2 years took a toll on most of us, in a lot of ways both physically and mentally, and IMO these impacts remain to be seen. As for me and my wife, we have been trying our best to stay active and getting together more and more with friends and family, playing music, working in the recording studio, and getting projects done. I built a covered deck that I'd been wanting to get to for years, during the 2 year fiasco! LOL!!! Wish I'd did it years ago now that I have it, and we're now enjoying it, but it did give me something physical/mental to do. Like you say, music is a good way to keep your mind active and finger joints too. Essentially, anything that can challenge one mentally and physically is good, and probably needed now more than ever IMO ;) Now... lets see... what can I fix/build/create today? :cool:
 

Mike Eskimo

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Dec 2020 I took a smack in the head/spinal cord.

January 2022 my body fought off an attack that millions of people over the last 2.5 yrs have also fought.

But - I also got the c***d fog.

Not cool/all too real.

Both of those incidents have me not giving a crap about a lot of things.

Most things.

Sllllloooooowwww thinking.

Remembering peoples names takes precedence over grasping new concepts/learning .

Oh, and I knew this thread would be a magnet for virtue signalers/those who would say things such as “nope not me! The majority of the world are dullards ! I daily search out/accumulate knowledge and I’ve always been hungry for it and continue to be every single day!”

🤔🙄🙉🙈
 

Skub

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Meh. It all sounds like too much work to me.

I've no time left for navel gazing or psycho-babble. Live in the moment,chill in the moment or do sweet FA in the moment,nothing matters anyway,getting bent out of shape because the clock is ticking is futile. Just enjoy the ride and stop trying to delay the inevitable.

That's my take.
 

Matt Sarad

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in 2013 my head hit the pavement in a serious bicycle accident. Two weeks later I was released from the rehab unit and was driven home.
I looked at the stack of books I had before the accident.
Gobbledygook indecipherable science.
Since I had my broken collarbone and right arm in a sling, I learned to eat and write with my left hand.
I went to another rehab hospital where I realized I could no longer do 5th grade math.My eyes wandered all over the page. Numbers reversed in my brain. I had lost 75% of the hearing in my left ear. I could only read and understand jr high level fiction.
It was determined that I had 75% of my cognitive abilities.
A close friend said, " For a guy who lost 50% of his intelligence, you're still smarter than 90% of the people I know."
I was shocked and thought he was joking.
I told my girlfriend, now my wife, what he said.
She looked sad and said he was right.

When I returned to teaching 5th grade 7 months later. it was a tremendous struggle.I made it 3 more years and retired a year early, losing about $1,000 a month from my pension as a result.
 
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Happy Enchilada

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When I was 48, I was busy building my virtual freelance business and raising two boys. Not a lot of time to pout @ how I'd "lost my mojo." But if you stay busy and explore and learn new things, you might get your mojo back.

Some ideas:

1. Build a partscaster. From scratch. Learn to finish the body, solder in the electronics, etc.
2. Take up a martial art. There are so many to choose from - and they all involve practice to become better.
3. Restore a bicycle. Get an old frame and start there (see #1 above).
4. Fly fishing. It's an addiction. And you can also build rods, tie flies ... and enjoy the zen of a river.
5. Volunteer for a local charity. See how lucky you are and help others. Very fulfilling.

Good Luck!
 

buster poser

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There are many types of cognitive decline and I've witnessed more than a few of them up close. The unfortunate truth is that doing the NYT crossword or learning an instrument aren't provably going to stave off Alzheimer's* or any other kind of dementia. Latest suggested links (to add to a very long list) are gut disorders and certain viruses.

We are in a golden age of computational chemistry/biology, and the ability uncover therapeutics/causes. I'm optimistic that we'll find a real treatment for Alzheimer's within my lifetime, maybe even Lewy body, but I play guitar because I love it. If you'd rather watch re-runs, watch 'em.

*There is a mountain of evidence that suggests music is one of the last things to leave an Alzheimer's patient's brain however.


 

archetype

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You joined TDPRI on my 43rd birthday.


You're also not the first person to tell me to check for Low T.

The range of what's normal for testosterone count is so large that a physician can't know what is normal for an individual just by assessing the count. Testosterone level is something that can be tinkered with using meds and watching for side effects. If you test in the normal range insurance will pay for none of it.

I test at the low end of the range. I've had 3 good internists over my lifetime and they've all said I have no symptoms that indicate I need to be treated for anything testosterone related.
 

catdaddy

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A couple of years into retirement I started to notice a bit of staleness creeping into my life and my brain. I made a decision to volunteer to work for a non-profit organization that provides music scholarships for talented and deserving young people (middle schoolers to college age). I wanted to shake things up and do something different with my life in my retirement, and since this was music related it seemed like it would be a good fit.

It has exceeded my wildest expectations. I've learned new skills all related to scholarship fund raising for the organization, including navigating the logistics of organizing an annual music festival, hosting workshops for young musicians, stage production, developing graphic art skills, even co-writing and publishing a book. The key to all of this was deciding in advance that I would never say 'no' to doing anything that I was asked to do (thank god there was never any skydiving 😄). If you accept every challenge as an opportunity your brain will thank you!
 

StoneH

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Lately (over the last few years), everything seems very 'meh'. I haven't learned anything new in awhile because I just don't care. Yet, I feel like I'm just as intelligent as I was at 24, maybe even more so. But I just can't get excited about anything anymore.

Is that lack of excitement how we get old, mentally? Have any of you felt this way, and found a way out of it? I've met people of all ages who have demonstrated that accelerated learning I've mentioned above, and in each case they seemed excited about what they were into.

How do you stay excited and interested in new things?

If nothing else, read the stuff in Bold.

My 10-year musical career ended in 1982, but for the next 36 years my job (USAF/DoD) kept me stimulated ---> When I wanted to learn about computers, I earned a Computer Controls Systems Degree, when I worked on the National Aero Space Plane (X-30), I earned an Aerospace Engineering Degree, when I wanted to work on multiple weapons systems like the AMRAMM, scramjets, AGM-142, SDB-II, and Air Combat Maneuvering System, I earned a Systems Management Degree. Eventually I moved into Foreign Military Sales, made a thousand foreign friends, and partied around the world for 20 years. My wife and friends were a tremendous inspiration. During that time, I raised a family, partied with friends, learned to shoot and reload, learned HAM, played golf, traveled with my wife, learned to boat, scuba, and spearfish, rebuilt 2 chevy engines, and I have remodeled an entire home (I'm on my second). After 40 years away, I have rediscovered guitar and I am writing and arranging, whilst learning to record, mix, and master.

I forgot to mention, I have been building furniture the whole time (almost 50 years). I told a friend once, I was getting tired of building stuff". His reply rings true every time I think of it (in any situation) . . .

. . . "You just aren't looking hard enough".

Good Luck!

<Edit> Going scalloping tomorrow . . . never been.
 
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