In a cover story for the July/August issue of Scientific American Mind, neurologist David A. Bennett, the director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, explains how the concept “cognitive reserve” can help delay the symptoms of older-age dementia. Among the ways an ageing person can accumulate extra brainpower, he has found, is to maintain a sense of purpose in their life.
That’s why Barbara Singer is on the cover. As the magazine’s managing editor Claudia Wallis explains in her issue letter, the 89-year-old New Yorker embodies much of Bennett’s study findings:
Singer does it all. She exercises, eats right and brims with purpose. Modeling and acting (recently in a Woody Allen project) is her third career; she had been an X-ray technician and photographer. Devoted to learning, she has taken philosophy classes and consultations at New York City’s Aesthetic Realism Foundation for decades. She is also busy promoting the work of her late husband, photographer and poet Nat Herz. “I feel strong enough to keep going for at least another 10 years,” Singer told me.
Someone else, of her age, who has remained equally adept at finding purpose in life is of course Allen, now 80. The filmmaker is about to hit the 40th anniversary year of arguably his most fully realized work as Alvy Singer. A.k.a. Annie Hall. (Though not officially credited, Singer plays a member of a ladies book group in Allen’s upcoming Amazon series, appearing in several episodes.)
Singer has a wonderfully well-constructed website. Along with the Scientific American Mind cover, the page fronting her acting credits is another lively placeholder.
Cover image by Aaron Goodman courtesy: Scientific American Mind