My mom’s advice: Train your brain!

.Poopsey at PRH, May 6, 09 003, 300psi

My mom knew how to have fun. I fondly remember her weekly bridge parties. They were a time to socialize and to keep her mind sharp. A regular foursome, lifelong friends, gathered in our living room, chatting, eating and drinking. The volume in the room went up a notch or two when someone trumped an opponent’s hand, with “oohs” and “aahs” all around!

Mom had a long battle with Alzheimer’s. I’d like to think that bridge, crossword puzzles, reading, yoga with meditation, and other brain-boosting activities fortified her mind for the struggles ahead.

During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, my mom’s advice would be, “Dear friends, discipline your mind. It’s your strongest asset for good brain health. Now, who’s turn is it to deal?”

© Ron Cooper

Read the Alzheimer’s Comfort Prayer, from “Fran’s Song: My Mother’s Triumph over Alzheimer’s.”

12 thoughts on “My mom’s advice: Train your brain!

  1. I ‘ran the bridge game’ for 3 years and still only barely got the intricacies! And there were people I knew who were struggling mightily on many levels who could plunk down the winning hand, way far along into the experience of dementia. I marveled then, and still do. I’m so glad your mom loved the game; not only was it good brain exercise, it was fun social connection too. Thanks Ron.

    • Tryn,

      So heartening to read your recollection about bridge. Games, play, music, prayer: All of these things remain with those living with dementia well into the disease. Thanks for sharing, my friend!


  2. Your blog site and your rememberances are a beautiful tribute to your Mom. All that she did and the person she was did not get lost in the Alzheimer’s phase of her life. Your words have made sure that the disease didn’t define your mother. You have shown the beautiful person she was. Thanks for sharing!

    • Marilyn,

      How nice of you to share your heartfelt comments. You’re right: Alzheimer’s did not steal mom’s beautiful voice, her steadfast faith or her devotion to family. Those things remained in her heart her whole life long.

      Take good care!

      • i was a bridge player with your Mom. I remember those conversations about improving her mind and body. We, along with our husbands, had more fun than the law allows. We ate together every friday night, danced every kind of dance you could dance, went to church together, went to lots of parties, and had many of the same friends. We did a lot of laughing together. Francis, Harry and Joe are gone and I miss them so much. It was such a fun life being with them. It was special.

  3. Ron, I did not know your mother but I can say she left her courage, wisdom, and spirit in her children in a delightful and inspirational way. May you cherish and live in her legacy in your own senior years. Blessings on you and Tanya, Maie

  4. Ron,

    I was so touched by your book, Fran’s Song. You captured many touching moments and the every day opportunities for connection. You recognize and encourage all to remember the beauty that is alive inside of every being– when they can express and when they cannot.

    I have been in end of life care as nurse and chaplain for several years. Sharing the music has always been a blessing.

    And I loved your Mom and your Dad. Fran’s beauty, wit, and courage to be authentic inspire me now and across the years from my early knowing her.

    Best to you in your continued sharing meaning and depth of the human condition and spiritual expression.

    Thank you. Best to you and your creative siblings. My Mom, with joy, often kept me updated on all of you

    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks so very much for your tremendously kind comments about my Mom, the book and my family Our journey together in Jeffersonville was the tale of two families, the Stemlers and Coopers, so close, so committed to friendship and faith from one generation to the next. I am so touched that you loved my parents, for I can say the same about your precious parents. Never a moment passed when we met that they didn’t inquire genuinely about what I and my siblings were doing. We felt part of their extended family, and learned about yours and your siblings’ doings through them.

      I am so impressed with your life’s calling of helping people through their final journey. Bless you for your devoted service as chaplain and nurse.

      I miss your Mom, and think about your Dad quite often, with prayers and good wishes. Please, keep me updated on your Dad. And thank you again for such nicely expressed sentiments.

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