Since my own father suffers from age-related dementia, my brain perks up any time I see an article about delaying its effects. My dad may be in Lala land but I'd just as soon not buy a ticket quite yet.
So I was interested recently when I saw an article that said you could increase mental acuity by learning a new musical instrument. Sounded like a good plan. I wondered if a guitar would count. Specifically, if it would count if I actually learned to play it right, and not just the self-taught plinking around I've been doing on it for decades.
I'm guessing it would have to be something totally new, so since I'm a cheapskate, another sign of approaching curmudgeon-hood, I picked up a harmonica. But who to play it with.
Well, turns out there's another thing they found that puts off senility: Video Games. Yep, researchers found that if an old person does certain video games his mental abilities will not only sharpen, they'll stay sharper. First person game types work best. Where two or three mental and physical decisions have to be made simultaneously. Like driving and also seeing a sign and having to read it and react in time.
This for 75-year-olds who already have licenses and are supposedly driving and reading signs in real life...
Anyhow, having to make split-second decisions keeps thought processes flexible. Like yoga for your brain. With the boomer retirement bulge swelling I'm looking forward to the titles they'll have available. Like Grand Theft Auto for oldsters. "Grand Theft Walmart Scooter." Or "Senior World of Warcraft 4, Mysts of the Hidden Incontinent."
With my new harmonica, maybe I'll pick up "Guitar Hero for Woodstock Survivors" and kill two dead brain cell birds with one rolling stone.
America, ya gotta love it.