Neuroplasticity builds new neural networks for anything you do with repetition. Just like the story in Awakening the Brain about little Barbara who improved her visual spatial skills and increased her IQ by practicing drawing, puzzles, and other visual tasks, the brain will always respond to the sensory input we engage.
At age 65, I decided to write a book about all these wonderful things for those who have been asking me for years what they could read. My challenge was that I could not type my thoughts. I had learned to write them with a pen and then type them. That turned out to be too taxing for me, which motivated me to try to engage new skills for myself. With repetitive effort, I typed away as I thought of the next concept to share and slowly there were fewer and fewer red lines under my words on the computer screen showing the errors my fingers had made. Slowly, I began to have my fingers translate my thoughts. That, too, is neuroplasticity at work.
The brain is a use it or lose it organ. When we stop using a foreign language we start losing it. When we retire and stop reading or keeping a calendar, those skills diminish as well. The two examples, of little Barbara and myself, make my point: age does not matter. What matters is what you do and the intention you have for doing it. All the mental functions of the brain work this way. Finding words, using your memory, paying attention, solving complex problems, doing math—we humans have lots of cognitive functions, and if we use them they get stronger.