I never thought cognitive tests would be such a headline story, but here we are. One benefit though is this interest can encourage us to think more about what we can do to keep our brain healthy and strong as we age.

There are some basic things you can do for brain health:

• Exercise daily — even 15 to 20 minutes a day can make a difference. 

• Eat well — avoid Adeline Knorr’s five S’s: “Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda and Shortening.” 

• Sleep well — seven to nine hours a night is best. 

• Minimize stress — learn ways to cope with anxiety or tension. 

• Stay socially connected — especially during this pandemic. 

• And stimulate your brain — learn something new: A hobby, language or card game. 

You can also try these nine Neurobic exercises. 

Neurobic exercises shake up the “same old same old” by making you perform tasks that have been, essentially, automated by your brain. If you interested in learning more about Neurobic exercises plus the scientific rationale, search “Weird Brain Exercises That Help You Get Smarter” by Lawrence C. Katz, PhD, and Manning Rubin.

Here are some examples:

1. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand — the hand you wouldn’t normally use. Or  practice writing with your non-dominant hand. If you’re like me, it can’t look much worse than your normal handwriting.

2. Shower with your eyes closed. Use your tactile senses to adjust the temperature by locating the taps solely by feel. Then wash with your eyes shut. But use common sense to avoid injury. 

3. Switch around your morning activities. Get dressed after breakfast or walk the dog on a new route. But make sure you get dressed before you walk the dog!

4. Turn familiar objects upside down (literally). Turn pictures of your family, your desk clock or calendar upside down. But explain yourself. You don’t want folks to think you’re nuts.

5. Switch seats at the table — if your spouse will allow it. Switching seat changes your view of the room and even how you reach for the salt and pepper. 

6. Make a new connection with your nose. Keep an extract of your favorite scent near your bed for a week. Smell it when you first wake up, and then again as you bathe and dress. 

7. Open the car window. Remember when there was no air conditioning and as you drove down the road you’d feel the fresh air blowing in your face? Roll down the window again and try to identify new smells and sounds on your drive. 

8. Play with spare change. Place a bunch of coins in your pocket during a walk and identify them when you stop at a corner. But don’t forget to cross.

9. Play “10 Things.” Choose an ordinary object and demonstrate 10 different “things” the object might be. If you get stuck imagine yourself as a child.

These Neurobic exercises will challenge your brain to prevent memory loss and sharpen your mind. If you want to learn more about brain health, visit the AARP Staying Sharp website, where you‘ll find a brain health assessment plus articles, games and recipes to help keep your brain fit.

•••

The name of the voice actor responsible for most of the Looney Tunes characters was Mel Blanc, who changed the spelling of his name when he was 16 from “Blank” to “Blanc” because a teacher told him he would amount to nothing and be like his name, a “blank.” 

I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Clair Zumwalt, Carol Earl, Lana Tepfer, Jerry Phillips, Dave Lutgens, Barbara Cadwell, Kim Birge, Jim Tindall and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Joan Silver, whose husband was a distant cousin of Mel Blanc. 

“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” was the catchphrase used by the comedy duo that was well known during the ‘30s and ‘40s for their slapstick comedy. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was their names? And for bonus points which one was always getting into a nice mess? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a membership to the “The Sons of the Desert” society.

•••

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the blind curves down the road. Until we meet again, as it’s often said, “If you expect everything to remain the same, you will be sorely disappointed.

•••

“In show business, the key word is honesty. Once you’ve learned to fake that, the rest is easy.” 

— George Burns

•••

The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels daily menus. If you would like to pick up a meal at noon, call 541-298-8333 before 10 a.m.

Menu

Thursday (30): Oven Baked Chicken

Friday (31): Turkey and Dressing with Gravy

Monday (3): Lip-smacking good!

Tuesday (4): Scrumptiously delectable!

Wednesday (5): Mouthwatering tasty!

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