Sometimes it's difficult to cope with change. Perhaps the Marx Brothers spoke for many of us in the film "Horsefeathers": "Whatever it is, I'm against it!" But, whether we like it or not, the world is in a constant state of flux. You can't avoid it. Or... can you?
Take music. It seems every generation says their music was the best and there hasn't been anything good since. There's a reason for that: Concetta M. Tomaino, Director/Co-Founder of the Institute for Music Neurological Function, says we experience positive neurological change when we encounter something we like. The enjoyment sticks. "So as we age, we know what music gives us the most pleasure," she says.
John Lambert owns a record store (they still have those things?), and he thinks that older people are constantly trying to recreate their youth by listening to the music they grew up with. Music, perhaps, is a "madeleine moment", a Proustian memory that takes us back instantly to an era in our life in an involuntary, but satisfying, recreation.
"When you're young everything is new but as you age, you want to spend time with the things you do enjoy", offers Anthony DeCurtis, a Rolling Stone contributor/editor. DeCurtis is unapologetic. "I know I'm going to spend time with Bob Dylan. It's important to me-it's remained substantive.
Still, it pays to embrace change. "Novelty and challenge is what keeps the brain in its peak performance," Tomaino says. "The brain needs new things." So despite the inclination to dismiss all the things that those crazy kids are doing these days, change happens whether we like it or not. We can adapt gracefully and creatively-or kicking and screaming.
Research favors the former. It's been shown that certain steps can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. For instance, staying physically and socially active, and stimulating the old bean by staying curious and involved in the world around you. It keeps the gray matter ship-shape and makes change easier to cope with, which may be necessary when the metric system finally takes hold!