This child learned to focus naturally and it’s only as she grows older will multi-tasking become a problem for her parents! Her parents and teachers will strive to teach focus.
The Connections program this week led by Karen was dedicated to focus. What does it mean? The word can be interpreted in many ways and relate to multiple passages in our lives, e.g. the cornerstone, heart of the matter, a single point of interest, or in business, a niche strategy. All of us are guilty of multi-tasking and this is not necessarily good for our brain. Studies have demonstrated that multi-tasking is not conducive to sound memory health.
For our wonderful “fired-up” participants with mild cognitive impairment or the early stages of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, it was an opportunity to revisit single focussed activities designed to stimulate the mind and improve the way they live their lives.
In the early stages of the program Karen used an amusing series of questions to help them warm up their brains by thinking laterally, but only one thought at a time. There followed a puzzle for everyone to complete which demanded a selective focus, and then, a quite challenging one-on-one which demanded a high level of dynamic interactive focus.
Imagine two people facing each other and alternately speaking the numbers one, two and three. Then changing the spoken “one” to a “clap” with the hands. Clap, two, three and so on. Sounds easy? Try it at home! Through the eye of the volunteer it was really encouraging to witness the level of participation and the desire to focus and get it right. There was of course much laughter and never the fear of failure. This is a failure free program!
Focussed activities that followed included yoga which really promotes focus on our inner well being, then some singing with the opportunity to focus on the words and music. Later still we played a fun team Jeopardy quiz and it was great to see everyone wanting to contribute to the success of their teams. There were some quite challenging questions and your correspondent struggled to know the answers to some of them! We also enjoyed an interlude recalling some of Yogi Berra’s more famous quotations. It was after all, the anniversary of the great man’s birthday.
Connections is rewarding too in the way we see people open up and talk about their lives. We posed a simple question: “what do you recall growing up that was missing from your life”. Watching the participants focus and speak to amusing and slightly more serious issues was fascinating, as was a conversation I listened to over the lunch socialization hour.
One of two new participants said that the program was not what he expected it to focus on. He expected that we would sit and discuss our poor memories and be miserable! He concluded it was the opposite and found the program challenging but fun. He said it might take him a few weeks to learn how to adapt and do better.
Then another more seasoned participant, and without any solicitation, explained to the new participant (with passion!) that life is about change, and focussing on what will help us even when the memory is impaired. This gentleman has clearly embraced change and the need to focus. “He said, I’m so much better for it”.
“There’s nothing more calming in difficult moments that knowing there’s someone fighting with you”.
― Mother Teresa
Please share this if you believe it could help someone