Learning something new

18 July 2018

A new series being launched across Summerset’s villages will see a number of speakers present on topics relevant to residents.

Gillian eadeBrain researcher Gillian Eadie kicked off the series, called Summerset Connect, at Ellerslie Village in March. Gillian, along with her sister Dr Allison Lamont, have spent years researching why brains tend to forget information, and have developed six key skills to ensure brain and memory connections stay active. They are passionate about protecting and enhancing memory, and created the Auckland-based Memory Foundation in 2008 to educate people.

“Instead of saying, ‘Oh! I’m losing my memory’ or ‘I’m having a senior moment’, we need to actively maintain our memory even though our brains are designed to disregard information,” Gillian says. “It is never too early or late to exercise the mind. Often, we are exercising our brains without realising. A crossword, Sudoku puzzle or social interaction are all forms of brain activity. Our brain connections grow right to the very last day of your life, if you give them something to do.”

Gillian says research shows that by creating cognitive reserve, we can actually push back the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by five years. “If you can push back the symptoms of the disease by five years – why wouldn’t you?”

Ellerslie residents say Gillian’s presentation was informative, and her down-to-earth manner was easy to listen to. “She told us about her own experience when she couldn’t remember if she’d closed the garage door. Most of us have been there and now we have some helpful tips to keep on top of these things,” says attendee Brian Kilby.

The Summerset Connect series also includes presentations from Sue Dwan, on getting your affairs in order; Sharon Giblett and Liz Koh, on financial planning in retirement; and international speaker Eve Bennett, on making the most of your retirement years.

Summerset Connect will travel to villages throughout the country in 2018.

Tips to keep your brain active

  • Next time you read something, randomly select 10 words and write them down. Look at the words for 30 seconds and then turn over the paper. How many can you remember? 
    Try this with a friend – have them to read out the words and see how many you can remember!
  • Think of the alphabet, say the last five letters in reverse, starting with Z…
  • When you are next going for a walk, add up all the numbers on the letterboxes. As you walk back home, subtract them all.