December 2017
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Are our bodies outlasting our brains?

Twenty years ago, most members of my extended family who died, left this earth due to cancer or heart attacks. But now these seem much less common. Instead, my relatives are living longer and succumbing to things like dementia and Alzheimers.

One of the latest incidents was when a close family member flew in from Australia to visit his 88-year-old mother. Arriving at Heathrow, he rang his mother to let her know he was in Britain. His mother, who had been looking forward to his arrival for weeks, then told him she was busy, was going out and didn’t know if she would have time to see him. As she can hardly walk, she wasn’t actually going anywhere. But her behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic.

alzheimers

Of course, there’s no cure for degeneration of our brain’s functioning and you have to be mentally strong to fight against the forgetfulness and wild mood swings this brings. And, as you feel your memory going, there is a risk of becoming embarrassed to meet people and thus becoming ever more isolated and depressed.

In this case, I had a ‘come to Jesus’ talk with the lady in question in which I made it clear – either she renews her social life or it’s into a home for her. The effect was  almost miraculous – her diary started filling up, she got out more, became less introspective and self-pitying and began to get stronger both physically and mentally. Surprisingly quickly she moved from a self-reinforcing downward spiral of forgetfulness leading to isolation leading to depression leading to more forgetfulness and so on into a positive self-reinforcing spiral of more contact leading to more confidence leading to more contacts leading to better memory and physical health.

Of course, the recovery can only be temporary. But many of us will have some very difficult years ahead as we become parents to our parents while they become increasingly child-like.

People may be surviving heart attacks and cancer but nobody seems to have thought through the consequences of our bodies living longer than our brains.

(As for Salmond’s resignation. I got that one wrong. I thought he was the winner. He almost achieved independence and got more power for Scotland without his lies about Scotland’s non-existent wealth being exposed – a true Holyrood hero. I don’t understand why he quit.)

1 comment to Are our bodies outlasting our brains?

  • John Fields

    Mr. Craig. I understand why Mr. Salmond resigned. He was in charge and he took the
    the burden of responsibility like a man. We have the abuse of children, the deaths of
    tiny defenseless babies, a crippling National Debt etc, and all we hear from those who are
    in a position of authority is, “It has nothing to do with me” . That is why I think that
    the man is outstanding.

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