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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Single at Mid Life - And Crazy As ...

Heck. Heck is what I meant to say. As if my journey through MidLife Divadom did not come with enough “obstacles”, recently I read an article on the Everyday Health.com public site. The article, Being Single In Midlife Could Raise Your Risk For Dementia, published on July 30 by HealthDay News raised the alarm, stating that if you are single and in your 40s, it might be a healthy idea to get married.

What? No really, and the article had “research” to back up their claims. The results of the studies featured in the article are expected to be released August 6th at the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council.

Said experts state that unmarried middle-aged people are more likely to develop cognitive impairment than their partnered counterparts are. That the process of “ruminating about life” could actually protect your brain. According to the research, Midlifers with partners have a 50 percent lower risk of showing signs of senility in late life compared to those who lived alone, those who stayed single their entire lives have double the risk of dementia while those who were divorced from midlife onward tripled their risk. 

States study author Krister Hakansson, “Living in a couple means that you are confronted with other ideas, perspectives and needs. You have to compromise, make decisions and solve problems together with someone else, which is more complicated and challenging. It is probably easier to get stuck in your own habits and routines if you live by yourself”.

What??? I guess, once you are alone, the brain turns to mush because you have nothing else to think about? Oh goodness! I guess having a life of one’s own does not count for much anymore!

In my own defense, I think that I am – for now – going to hold out for further proof. Meanwhile, I have a ton of things to “ruminate over” that may more than help stave off an impending dual with sanity. I have more than enough things that actually drive me crazy to keep me from going crazy.

The Teenage Wonder also known as Son begins college in a week. He will – sheltered child that he is – be responsible for getting himself to the University – on time, everyday. He will be responsible for himself, which makes the Enabler in me CRAZY! However, same Teenage Wonder wants to wear the “big boy pants” of being a “grown-up” while asking me for money and what is for dinner – all in the same breath. Crazy!

Then, there is the up and down dance at the gasoline pumps, a constant “spin the wheel” as I guess how much it will cost me to fill up the tank of my “mini-SUV” this time.

There is the fluctuating weight scale that testifies to more “off days” and less “On days” as hormones does a number on my once athletic build. And let’s talk about those hot flashes. That is enough to drive anybody crazy!

Then, there is the political race, the never-ending political dance.

In addition, I have three sisters – three very strong-willed, opinionated sisters who never fail to make their views known. Need I say more about these women?

I have work that keeps me stimulated, friends who keep me motivated and one Phenomenal Mother who keeps me real. I have more than enough things that actually drive me crazy to worry about going crazy.

Yes, I have more than enough things that keep me stimulated, if these things are not going to help me fight off dementia, then I am doomed!

14 comments:

flashfree said...

Wow! This is an interesting study. I have to agree with you that keeping busy and stimulated can be done without a spouse. Indeed, if you track findings from the New England Centenarian Study, you'll see that those who were healthiest kept their minds active by doing things like playing music, learning a new language or engaging in word play. I'm going to track down this study and really look at it. In the meantime, here's the press release from this morning's meeting. http://www.alz.org/icad/_icad_release_073008_130pm_lifestyle.asp

Brenda Craig said...

I know it is a serious subject you are musing about but you made me smile and even attempt to laugh and did so after having only one cup of coffee in me...lol

Blessings Brenda

T L Thomas said...

Glad I could help, Brenda! We Mid Life Divas have to stick together!

Anonymous said...

I studied Alzheimer's in med school.

Reading, solving puzzles and putting things together with your hands combined with regular exercise (especially the kind that involves decision making, like dancing) is very brain protective. In preventing dementia, use it or lose it is the general rule.

T L Thomas said...

Anonymous makes a valid point - several in fact - which is a perfect way to start this conversation among women. Activities such as reading, solving puzzles, putting things together with your hands and exercise, none of these actitivities require an "other" to accomplish. Quality of life, "living on purpose" and being active in your life would seem to be key to "use it or lose it". Using our lives to the fullest - thanks Anonymous! Stop by to chat ANYTIME! We love it!

Yasmin said...

Hmmm...every thing has to be attributed to something...I say keep on living and doing what you do best...as long as you're active, willing to learn and taking care of your health I think that should be enough and it sounds like you're taking control of all of the above.
Love your blog and I'm glad I tweetered my way ova here esp. since I'm a Mid-Life Diva (minus the hot flashes...I have the other problem...sigh).
xoxo

T L Thomas said...

Hey Yasmin! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comments. Stop by anytime to chat with us! Blessings!

zhadi said...

The single women I know are some of the most creative people I've ever met. I'm talking 40s and up. Sounds like the study is trying to promote marriage, iffen you ask me...

T L Thomas said...

I agree wholeheartedly, zhadi. 40s and up seem to be the most favorable time in a woman's life to discover and embrace what makes her unique. AND fulfilled! Thanks for stopping by to chat, come by anytime!

Beverly Mahone said...

I, personally, disagree with the findings. I think the minds of married people tend to go first. Why? Because we hear so much nagging, we just want to FORGET!

Christine Duncan said...

Hmm, I wonder if the findings would be different if you separated the sexes. Seems to me that single men of a certain age are a little more...absentminded? than women.

T L Thomas said...

That's a thought, Christine. I would be very interested in having a look at those stats...

Anonymous said...

Hey TL,

You are a blogger, what more stimulating of a life do you want then that? The whole world is open to us, we can meet new people every day and join in conversations all around the worls. Who needs to pick up someones dirty socks to do that?? LOL. I think whoever did that study wasn't taking into consideration the great new world of on-line communication. They had to be studying those living in the confines of Off-line communication relationships only.

Thanks for stopping by Life's Little Inspirations. I have really enjoyed reading your posts today and have subscribed so I can continue to enjoy and be a part of your community. Hope to see you back at LLI soon.

Wendif

ailaspeaks said...

Thanks for the mental stimulation, Divas! My mind is sooo much clearer now ~

I just read the original article. The way we do research is such a farce. The outcome depends on what the researcher is looking for, according to quantum physics.

Regardless of whether this data is correct, I think the conclusions are suspect.

Maybe it is Loving and Caring about someone that makes the difference vs marriage as an institution.

If widows, who have lost a love, have 3 times the dementia, and singles, who may be seeking love only have twice the dementia, and if runinating about family issues is a protective factor (Isreal study), that makes more sense to me.

Stay sharp, go Love someone today!

;)) Aila
'The De-stress Diva'
www.ailaspeaks.com