It turns out you can teach an old hound dog new tricks. That’s what findings confirmed from an interesting study focused on people over the age of 65. Changes in memory are a natural part of the aging process, but perhaps not the way you think.

An magazine titled, “100 New Health Discoveries” by Time Magazine, states that the University of Southern California’s Margaret Gatz, professor of psychology, gerontology and preventive medicine, cites several examples of increased cognitive performance in the over 65 group. Here are five examples cited from the study:

  1. Older brains are better able to utilize both brain hemispheres at once, calling on the full spectrum of brain power available.
  2. Research proves that older adults are better able to process and solve interpersonal dilemmas, and that their people skills are sharper the younger groups.
  3. Experience sharpens problem-solving and reasoning skills, accounting for the gradual improvement in financial decisions as we mature and age.
  4. Emotional control is more easily achieved between the ages of 61 and 81, as we gain better strategies to handle impulsiveness.
  5. Studies reveal that aging helps promote a positive outlook as we attempt to focus on the upside of life.

Historically notable figures that have made significant contributions well beyond the over 65 mark includes acclaimed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who remained active in his field until his death, shortly before his 92nd birthday. The artistic icon, Picasso, died at the age of 91, with paint stains encrusted beneath his fingernails. At a time when the average life expectancy was 35 years, Galileo, lived to the ripe age of 74, publishing his last paper only a few years earlier. Other notable late bloomers include Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken; and let’s not forget Betty White, who made her successful acting comeback in 2009 and is still going strong at the age of 93.

Longevity gives the brain a second chance to achieve bucket list goals, such as publishing a practical field manual based on your professional work experiences. Consider the gratification in creating a personal memoir or scrapbook with favorite photographs of milestones with friends and family. It’s never too late to learn some basic French or Spanish language skills to enhance the cultural experience of a long-overdue European adventure that may be part of your future.

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