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The New England Journal of Medicine published some information about how plastic the brain of an elderly person is than was previously believed. George Washington University College of Medicine states that the right and left hemispheres become much more in sync and expands the older adults’ possibilities. Think of people like Tony Bennett who started painting at a late age. Many people after the age of 60 have started on new creative activities.

Even though the brain works slower it has more flexibility. We talk about the wisdom of old age, and this is true. Older adults are more likely to make good decisions. The brain reaches its highest intellectual functioning at about 70 years old.

Myelin, the substance in the brain helping with the signals between the neurons, increases  with age. This is why elders experience an increase of 300% intellectual functioning compared to the average. From 60 to 80 years of age, myelin is still actively produced at a peak rate. Both hemispheres of the brain in a person over 60 can be used at the same time. This results in being able to solve more complex problems.

Professor Monchi Uri from the University of Montreal claims that the brain of an elderly person uses more energy efficient pathways, leaving only the right choices for working out solutions.

 Here are some fascinating features of the brain at the age of 60 to 80 from the journal article.

  1. The neurons in the brain do not die off, but the connections disappear if not used in mental work.

  2. Absent mindedness and forgetfulness appear to be caused by an overabundance of information. So don’t focus your whole life on unnecessary details.

  3. Beginning at the age of 60, a person uses both hemispheres at the same time when making decisions.

  4. Conclusion: “If a person leads a healthy lifestyle, moves, has a feasible physical activity and its full mental activity, intellectual activity ability DO NOT decrease with age, but only GROW, reaching a peak by the age of 80 to 90 years.”

What does this mean to older adults? It means staying active  intellectually, socially and physically. Definitely try new things: take some classes online or in person;  make new acquaintances; try some new dances; plan for the future,  grow vegetables.

Have the attitude of looking forward to a bright time ahead.

Fun facts

The average age of the Nobel Prize laureates is 62.

The average age of the president of 100 largest companies in the world is 63 years.

Most protective age of a person is from 60 to 70 years.

The second most productive human stage is the age from 70 to 80 years old.