In a Word...

...Alzheimer’s. Patsy McGarry

 

The lady on the radio was adamant. No, not Adam Ant (whatever happened him?) but adamant.

(Okay, okay, silence back there. Adam Ant is now 64, alive and well and living in London where, while he does not own a television, enjoys historical novels. He has tattoos depicting Lord Nelson’s last prayer before the Battle of Trafalgar; an image of his grandfather; and a quotation from Oscar Wilde: “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” And he made lots of them.)

The lady on the radio recommended brushing your teeth standing on the left leg in the morning and while standing on your right leg at night, facing west. (Alright, I added that last bit.)

She was very clear that walking sideways, in the morning or at night, was not a requirement. She did believe it a good thing to set the alarm on your phone to go off every hour. Not at night, of course.

You should then do push-ups, sit-ups, stand-ups. Keep learning new things, she said, keep meeting new people (“HOW do you dooo?” and “How do YOU dooo?” etc), she said. Take up weight-lifting. She knows an 82-year-old woman who did and is now 56. At which rate she may be ready to play Cinderella next Christmas. (Yes, I added that too.)

And, remember, there is no such thing as bad stress. Just too much stress. Too little and, well, you’re dead or dead bored. Chronic stress is bad, she said, but no stress is very, very bad.

The lady on the radio was recommending all of this so people who are worried about ageing might keep their brain active and so help avoid Alzheimer’s.

The presenter was very pertinent. She asked the lady whether all of these exercises might only make people miserable. The lady on the radio was adamant. Again. It would not.

A basic worry, however, about all her advice for living longer by really, really, trying is that all it may result in is a longer life with Alzheimer’s!

Fie on that, to paraphrase Shakespeare.

Alzheimer’s is named after neurologist Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915). His surname is from the placename Alzheim, meaning “old hamlet”.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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