Barbara Hill

Barbara Lynch Hill

As my body ages so does my mind.

I don’t know who said this first, but alas, it’s all too true.

All of us of a certain age remember this little ditty: “I got used to the arthritis; to my dentures I’m resigned; I can manage my bifocals, but God, I miss my mind.”

An intuitive gal at a recent meeting where the above poem was quoted quite aptly said, rather than Senior Moments, her mother used to call them Intellectual Interludes. Now that’s a term I can live with – and actually rejoice in. It sounds so classical and so. .. ageless.

There are oh-so-many terms for this condition. The late Marilyn Weber, a dear friend and former news editor of this paper, used to call them Cranial Brownouts, especially during deadlines. Other terms include Mental Glitches, Mature Flashes, according to Frank Kaiser who wrote on the internet’s Brain Bloat. This he insisted was the result of cramming too much stuff into one’s head.

This was also the deduction of Sherlock Holmes. He once explained his total lack of interest in anything non-criminal to Dr. Watson by comparing his own detective’s brain to an attic with finite space. Rather than fill it thoughtlessly, he rejected all but what was important to him, i.e., facts of any mysterious occurrences that came his way.

Multitasking in today’s fast paced living style can cause stress at any age and surely help reduce Senior Moments. PhD Carrie Hill offers six tips to reduce these instances: (1) do one thing at a time; (2) note how things look, smell, taste and feel as well as what’s happening, to remember something in multiple ways (3) replay memories mentally to reinforce them; (4) get enough sleep; (5) learn stress management techniques; and (6) reduce mental clutter (remember Sherlock!) by using calendars, lists and other aids

There are all kinds of theories and suggested solutions, everything from glucose intolerance, to computer programs to board games to the assurance that proper diet and regular exercise will keep us mentally sharp.

In the meantime we can fall back on the Senility Prayer as promulgated by the Dull Men’s Club, “God grant me the senility to forget the people I’ve never liked, and the good fortune to run into the ones that I do like, and the eyesight to see the difference.”

As for me, I’m sticking with Intellectual Interludes.

Barbara Hill is a local historian and former reporter for the Summerville Journal Scene.