Wednesday, August 14, 2013



By Ada Brownell

Only a few days ago Science News featured a study in Hungary that found dogs have long-term memory. I could have saved them the money and the trouble. We had a male poodle named Macho who remembered the vet’s office from the parking lot, even though he hadn’t been there for six months. He dragged the leash the wrong way with his brakes on when I headed for the door.
Macho could detect what was ahead when I started gathering up towels and doggie shampoo. He’d head for the hills--a spot on the couch under a pillow or anywhere, in an attempt to keep from taking a bath.

I haven’t been around many animals, but I’ve seen chickens who could recall how to peck a certain place and receive food, and I’ve seen all sorts of critters, bugs and slimmey things that have memory. Then why, when a human gets old will a name he knows as well as his own escape him?

One day I couldn’t think of the word “pretzel.” I burned my brain going through the alphabet but it wouldn’t come. In the middle of the night I woke and there it was. I had it! Pretzel! No longer was it that little squiggly thing we deep fry and sprinkle with salt or cinnamon and sugar.

Am I developing Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia? How could I tell? But I’ve heard if you can’t remember something important and you know it, you’re probably safe.

One blessing I’ve discovered is being married helps. When we take off in the car, one of us might point and say, “Where are you going? It’s that way.” Or one of us might yell, “Look out!” and prevent an accident.

Sometimes it takes two of us to prepare a meal. But being married comes in handiest when we’re talking. We fill in the blanks for each other when the other person can’t think of a name or word.
When God created marriage, he said “Two shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

I’ve discovered when you’re senior citizens, it takes two to be one.

Note: Emerging evidence from the Alzheimer’s Association Find a chapter near you suggests there are steps we can take to help keep our brain healthier as we age.

 “Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells,” a spokesman wrote.

  • MAYO CLINIC STAFF say we may be able to lower Alzheimer's disease risk by reducing risk for heart disease. Important factors that also may be involved include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, excess weight and diabetes.
  • Mayo Clinic’s experts for those at high risk of dementia encourage physical activity, cognitive stimulation, social engagement and a healthy diet. They also teach memory compensation strategies that help optimize daily function even if brain changes progress. Keeping active — physically, mentally and socially — may make your life more enjoyable and may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

A.B. Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a BS degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books.
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult or
Swallowed by LIFE:
Confessions of a Pentecostal:
     Twitter: @adellerella


Anonymous said...

Hi Ada,

I sure can identify w/your commentary today - we think we have it all together, and then forget what it was we had together!


Gail Kittleson

Carol said...

Hi Ada - I enjoyed your blog, and I would like to post it on my website Let me know if that is OK with you.


Carol Howell

Claude Nougat said...

Nice post, Ada, thanks for sharing. Love the bit about Macho! And the statistics are clear: people who are married live longer. Whether they are happier the statistics don't say (one may hope they are!)

As to stimulating the brain to help delay or impede Alzheimer's, I hope that's true, but many people have debunked the idea, the statistics (always them! Argh!) don't confirm it, at least not yet.

Still, stimulating the brain is plain fun, so if it also has that nice side-effect of keeping Alzheimer's away, why not?

J.B. DiNizo said...

Alzheimer's scares all of us who have reached a certain age. The times we live in are enough to make us want to go live in a cabin off in the woods, but isolation can be a fast-track to dementia! Thanks for your column!

Caroline said...

Fun (and serious) post, Ada. Really enjoyed it and can relate, especially the parts about in the car traveling. "Hon" and "Look out" are probably two fav warnings of mine to hubby. :)


Ada Brownell said...

Enjoyed all your good comments! Gail, you made me smile. Carol,I replied to you by email with permission. Even with all the challenges and things to worry and pray about, we still enjoy life and find things that make us smile. Thanks, Linda for inviting me to be your guest.