As much as we might not want to admit it, growing older comes with varying degrees of mental decline. Specifically, the declines are in memory, information processing, and communicating with others. That’s the bad news.

The good news is current research tells us if we take the proper measures, the inevitability of severe mental decline can be virtually eliminated. In one study, men were tested when they were younger and then again at age eighty-one. Those who had stayed mentally active showed that “cognitive capabilities generally associated with advanced aging were neither extensive nor consistent.”

Here is a summary of “Retirement Rules” for staying mentally fit:

1. Get regular exercise – Be sure to get in your thirty minutes of aerobic exercise daily and add in a mental component. Believe it or not, dancing and/or shopping are two of the best combinations. Sorry guys.

2. Socialize – Talking, laughing, and discussing various topics with other people is actually good for your mental fitness.

3. Reduce your stress – This will positively alter the chemistry of the brain and buffer it from harmful stress hormones.

4. Increase your mental activities – You can do this by reading, writing, playing musical instruments, working puzzles, and participating in group discussions.

5. Vary your activities – Change things up from time-to-time. The brain gets used to the same activities so we need to seek new sights, smells, and activities.

6. Improve your nutrition – There are spcific foods (which I will discuss in a future blog) that actually improve your mental fitness. Seek them out.

Following these basic rules for mental fitness will go a long way in slowing mental decline. As the saying goes, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Great gift idea:

*** On a completely different topic, I know many of you seniors out there have lots of grandkids. After these kids have received every toy in the store, it’s difficult to buy them presents for their birthdays or during the holidays. I’ve got a great suggestion for you and it’s one my wife and I have taken to heart.

Go to:   www.jenparkerphotography.com    and see some of the beautiful work she does. She is the best child and family photographer I have ever seen and can provide you with unique photos and photo books that will become treasures for a lifetime. Take a look a her website and you will be amazed.

Latest book news:

Trisha and I recently appeared on the ABC San Francisco television program The View From The Bay.

Succesful transition to retired life from authors John and Trisha Parker – 2/2

We will be appearing for a book signing at Barnes & Noble  in Antioch, California, from 3:00 to 5:00 on March 13. Would love to see you there.

John Parker

www.TheBestofOurLives.com