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Retirees - How do you stay Mentally Sharp?
Old 06-11-2010, 01:28 PM   #1
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Retirees - How do you stay Mentally Sharp?

I've been reading recently in a couple of threads here as well as a few other articles, about the importance of staying mentally sharp as we age for both health and emotional well-being. I think a lot of us probably fulfilled the need for mental stimulation while w*rking. But for those who have retired, are there things you do to help stay mentally challenged? Reading fiction, reading non-fiction, taking classes, participating in local politics? Other things that you do that have the added side-benefit of providing some mental challenge?
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:18 PM   #2
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I teach, write research articles, give presentations and play chess.
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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Engage in idle thinking, daydreaming, crossword puzzles. Read automotive engineers forum on suspension, fuel systems, electrical systems design arguments.

Ignore anything having to do with electric trains, locomotives. 15 years of it was enough.

Do troubleshoot weird problems for mechanic friend when all experts fail.

Resume idle thinking and daydreaming.
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:37 PM   #4
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How do I stay mentally sharp?

I don't!
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:40 PM   #5
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I read constantly and do crossword puzzles . That's what keeps my Mom sharp and she's 93 .
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:53 PM   #6
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I just hope that sliding into senility will be like drowning peacefully.
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:46 PM   #7
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I just hope that sliding into senility will be like drowning peacefully.
So, just hoping that "I don't know what I don't know"?
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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Retirees - How do you stay Mentally Sharp?

I quiz my mind with all the 'gozintahs and double naughts' on my financial spreadsheet.

Otherwise I don't worry about.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:15 PM   #9
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I enjoy mental activity and so this is not a problem for me. One of the things I like best about ER is that I can choose mentally stimulating and challenging activities at will.

Choosing the right partner can be very helpful in this. Frank and I have some fascinating discussions on various engineering and/or scientific topics. Today we discussed a matrix algebra technique that we used in college, assembly language programming, undersea drilling technology, the space shuttle, the RF splatter produced by plasma TV's, the 9-11 tragedy, factors leading to diabetes, and probably a dozen other fascinating topics. Like others here we read about topics like this and discuss what we discovered in our reading with one another.

The internet can be quite mentally stimulating if you don't limit your searches to "Cheerleaders Gone Wild" or "Bad Boys in their Speedo's" or something like that.

Write a program, build an electronic instrument, look at the stars or go birdwatching. Play with your financial plan and try different scenarios. Doing brain teasers can also be an active way to learn through doing.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:27 PM   #10
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What was the question, again?
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:54 PM   #11
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
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...(snip)... But for those who have retired, are there things you do to help stay mentally challenged? Reading fiction, reading non-fiction, taking classes, participating in local politics? Other things that you do that have the added side-benefit of providing some mental challenge?
I've always been curious about how things work -- economics, art, science, etc. So now there is all that time to satisfy my endless questions. Today was running in the park and debating with myself about how to view the hydrogen atom. I've been reading and reviewing my old school interests in physics. Lots there. Even bought a book after reviewing it in the library on Quantum Mechanics for Everyone (no formulas, mostly for the lay public but thoughtful). There's also plenty of info on the web regarding this.

So I'd recommend people get in touch with their curious self. Try to answer those questions you had in school and pursue some of those early interests whatever they were.

Other activities in no particular order: reading fiction for pleasure and to get a feel for other worlds I may never visit, writing spreadsheets galore to datamine stock market strategies, gardening and figuring out why those plants died, exercising (we aren't just big minds, got to remember about those bodies too).
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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...(snip)...
Choosing the right partner can be very helpful in this. Frank and I have some fascinating discussions on various engineering and/or scientific topics. Today we discussed a matrix algebra technique that we used in college, assembly language programming, undersea drilling technology, the space shuttle, the RF splatter produced by plasma TV's, the 9-11 tragedy, factors leading to diabetes, and probably a dozen other fascinating topics. Like others here we read about topics like this and discuss what we discovered in our reading with one another.
...
I'm a bit jealous. You two seem to have a lot in common which is great. My DW is an artist and we share those thoughts quite a bit, along with things like ecological stuff. She's a bit clueless about the scientific stuff though.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #14
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I'm a bit jealous. You two seem to have a lot in common which is great. My DW is an artist and we share those thoughts quite a bit, along with things like ecological stuff. She's a bit clueless about the scientific stuff though.
Thank you! We are so lucky to have found one another. We do seem to have a lot in common, to an unusual degree, though I tend to look a little blank when he is talking about his ham radio hobby, and he is sweetly tolerant but equally at sea when I talk about my favorite game on the Wii. But other than those topics it is amazing how many interests we share. We both have a lot of curiosity and active minds so that helps. Conversations with him are fascinating, so I am never bored.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:18 PM   #15
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Read, study, speak Spanish whenever possible, play TextTwist on my palm computer, participate on this and on running/triathlon forums, play the piano (not as much as I should/could), have stimulating conversations with DW, travel (and study about the places I'm going to visit), try to get a good nights sleep, do photography, give presentations. In other words, I do about the same things as I did before retiring, but with less teaching and research.

Is all of this helping "stay mentally sharp"? I doubt it.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:33 PM   #16
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I keep my brain waves active by reading a lot (all non-fiction), hunting and searching out info on the internet on stuff pertaining to my hobbies (model railroading and gardening), and daily ventures down to the coffee shop to interact with all of my caffeinated buddies....2 or 3 times a day....We my not solve all of the world's problems, but at least while we're guzzlin' coffee, we ain't contributing to them!!! Plus I make time to watch Jeopardy, Cash Cab, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire!!! All of these things help to keep my brain somewhat sharp and quick!

My Mom's 83 and sharp as a tack. When she's not out and about, she spends most of her time reading, doing crossword puzzles and cryptograms, and watching TV shows like the afore mentioned 'game' shows (the ones that make ya think!), as well as crafting shows and cooking shows, and that sort of thing.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:44 AM   #17
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I think a lot of us probably fulfilled the need for mental stimulation while w*rking.
You gotta be kidding me.

"Nords, change all the bullets on these PowerPoint slides to 14-point Times New Roman instead of 16-point, and the background on every other slide needs to be a lighter blue. Oh, and could you copy the CO's comments over to the "notes" section for his briefer to read? Love, XO"

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But for those who have retired, are there things you do to help stay mentally challenged?
Windows Solitaire. The XP version, not Vista. I count the cards and memorize the deck, letting the score run until the computer crashes or I have to reboot. I may get $1500-$2000 in the red at first but after a week or two I'm equally far up into the black.

Parenting is always mentally stimulating. In fact if you're relaxing, then you're about to be mentally stimulated beyond all expectations.

Oh, and I read a lot too.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:09 AM   #18
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The jury is still out on whether or not this is an effective treatment.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:35 AM   #19
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But for those who have retired, are there things you do to help stay mentally challenged? Other things that you do that have the added side-benefit of providing some mental challenge?
First of all this was never a retirement concern for me. I have always been mentally active and not reliant on work for mental challenge/stimulation. It just happens naturally. I suspect I am not alone in this.

Lately?
  • Well, I have just finished an extensive landscape plan that required a lot of research plus using layout tools.
  • For the last several weeks I have been watching Spanish language TV at night to improve my comprehension and vocabulary. Now there is something that will overstimulate your brain! Getting your entertainment in another language!

I always seem to have at least one major "brain" project going on.

Travel, IMO, is also a major brain exerciser because you are constantly in unfamiliar situations.

I am constantly researching things. Every day. Thank goodness for the Internet!!!

Audrey
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:44 AM   #20
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Here is how one person -- a 33yo person, BTW -- stays mentally sharp:

A Self-Appointed Teacher Runs a One-Man 'Academy' on YouTube

Quote:
Mr. Khan calls his collection of videos "Khan Academy," and he lists himself as founder and faculty. That means he teaches every subject, and he has produced 1,400 lectures since he started in 2006. Now he records one to five lectures per day.
"Yeah, sure," you say but just watch a couple and believe me your "mental sharpness" will be well on its way to fully "in tune."

Quote:
The Khan Academy explicitly challenges many of higher-education's most sacred assumptions: that professional academics make the best teachers; that hourlong lectures are the best way to relate material; and that in-person teaching is better than videos. Mr. Khan argues that his little lectures disprove all of that.
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