"My brain is my filing cabinet."
So said my new patient, a high-powered attorney, who is forgetting things at work. The neurological and neuropsychological workup was normal for his age and education. Was it unreasonable to demand that his 60-year old brain do what it did 10, 20, or 30 years ago?
Normal brain aging is marked by gradual modest decreases in reaction time, attention, processing speed, and decreases in sensory and perceptual functions (notably hearing and vision). Difficulty coming up with names of people we know is quite typical. Although it can be socially and professionally awkward, it is, by itself, not a sign of dementia. A person can compensate for many of these changes, sometimes unconsciously, and sometimes by creating new supports.
During the pandemic, my patient had moved his legal practice to Zoom, and had lost many of his memory prompts: the way a client talked, a particular gesture, a particular piece of jewelry. His assistant used to have his client files perfectly organized on his desk, and when he came to the office in the morning, he could tell a lot about what to expect by the order and the thickness of the files. At the time in life when the brain is no longer the best “filing cabinet,” he suddenly also lost all his environmental cues.
Creating the right supports and cues for our aging brains allows us to keep functioning at a high level. As we move through life’s stages, it is crucial to keep ourselves ready to be nimble both mentally and physically. Enhancing mobility with the use of Spring is just one tool that we help you thrive physically, socially, and mentally through all of life’s next steps.
In good health,
Dr. Patricia Kavanagh