To try to stay free from dementia

When my mother was living in the house in the same property years ago and I was serving breakfast, I often found her writing down something on a paper. She was practising writing chinese characters. It was the time when she had developed and progressed dementia. She had been a sharp lady and must be in worry and anxiety for that problem. She did not tell me why she had done that. But I thought she had realized losing her memory and tried to maintain it with that particular behaviour. What could I tell her seeing that? It was an endeavour to struggle with the illness looming on her quietly.

Apart from what it means to us living ordinary life, writing something by hand is a good training to activate our brain. It consists of recalling spells, meanings of what we are going to write and moving our hands to write them down. Then we read it over and assure if the writing is correct in the context. Not writing with a keyboard but by hand is the point. Hand writing requires us active recalling process. Keyboards could tell us wrong spelling etc. In Japanese, they even remind us of what we are going to write in advance. Active commitment to the process is crucial to activate our brain. So does playing music instruments mean to us. It is even more complicated and diverse process of brain than hand writing. Thus hand writing or playing music instrument is regarded to resist or slower the process of brain dysfunction with aging.

As a CW lover, how about keying CW? It might seem comparable to handwriting. In CW reception, our auditory center decodes the code. Our memory works in that process. CW sending is to consider of what message we should send and to convert it to the code, almost automatically, and move our hand hitting the key in front of us. However, exchanging meaningless symbols/numbers is different from handwriting. It won't involve in the higher center of our intelligence. It is just a reflective process, which could be replaced to computer. The digital mode is a product of this replacement. 

Now it is your choice which way of enjoying CW you would do. Playing with CW in order to prevent from suffering dementia may be a bit off the point. If your way of enjoyment attracts you, nothing is to be complained about that. Just go ahead in that way. If not, try to communicate meaningful things on CW, which would give you more pleasure and eventually help you to be free from dementia. Even if it may not be the ultimate solution of this inevitable problem for some of us.


  1. The reference to meaningless symbols undoubtedly is aimed at the weekend pastime of many, perhaps most of the CW operators today. I think it is important recognize that the goal of the weekend contester is not to communicate via CW, it is to compete. CW is the medium that particular weekend. On a different weekend, it may be a different medium, like SSB or RTTY. On the other hand, the goal of a conversational CW operator is to carry on a conversation in CW. An exchange of ideas, stories, life events, using CW as the language. A different medium will not provide the satisfaction (CW FIX) that is sought.

    1. Don,

      I say amen many times to your description. Even though it is not the objective to denounce or attack them. I would emphasize conversational CW itself gives us a pleasure which is not obtained by the other mode communication or by the meaningless CW.


  2. I hope cw does,in fact,slow the dementia process; however, it also seems to me that reading and sending Morse code has become automatic and does not require any active thought process - so we will see. I am sitting here listening to you and K1JD have a very nice QSO on 40 meters this morning. Your signal is Q5/S1 - easy to copy, but there is no chance you could really copy me without extreme difficulty.