When my doctor told me I was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, I was devastated.
Not wanting to become a burden to my children, I sold my house, moved to an assisted living center, and waited for Alzheimer’s to finish robbing me of whatever quality of life I had left.
I’d been talking slower and getting confused. I couldn’t even remember my address! But the greatest loss of all had been reading. Before, I’d enjoyed reading books, magazines and my Bible every single day. Now, I could read a paragraph over and over and not understand or remember anything I’d read!
I began to sink into depression.
That December, someone gave me a book about the brain’s ability to create new neurons at any age. The book mentioned a company—LearningRx—that pairs you up with a brain trainer who takes you through special mental exercises, stimulating your brain to reorganize existing neurons and even create new ones.
I got on the phone and called the LearningRx Brain Training Center in Bossier City, Louisiana where I live.
Could brain training help me? I’d soon know.
The first time I met Maria, my brain trainer, she immediately announced, “Now Virginia, you may be 81 years old, but you can do this, and I’m not cutting you any slack!”
Right away, she had me memorize the names of all the presidents of the United States by linking crazy images to each of their names. The next time my daughter Kenda and son-in-law Randy came to visit, I rattled off the names of all 44 presidents.
Kenda said, “Mom, I can’t even do that!”
Before long there were books and magazines all over my apartment again. I even started playing cards with my friends again.
Randy told me, “I love seeing your zest for life coming back!”
Thinking, reading, talking—even making decisions—got faster and easier. My neurologist tested my brain function and said it had jumped from 77.1 to 95.9!
At my LearningRx graduation Randy told everyone, “We have our wonderful Virginia back.”
I love being able to do the things I enjoy. Best yet, I know I’m not at the end of my life. I may be 81, but I’m not giving up. I still have a future to look forward to.
Photo credit: Cristie Magnusson