Find out what is typical of normal, age-related memory loss. Senior Lifestyle breaks this down and provides tips that can help you prevent memory loss.
As we grow older, innocent moments of forgetfulness can suddenly become a source of worry. That’s why it’s important to be aware of what constitutes normal, age-related memory loss and to be able to differentiate these changes from the signs of a more serious condition. Explore this overview of age-related memory loss as well as some tips from Senior Lifestyle that can help you stay sharp and may help prevent memory loss.
Misplacing your keys or glasses from time to time and forgetting bits of information are perfectly normal parts of age-related memory loss. Just as many parts of our bodies change as we get older, so too do our brains. Many of the changes to our brains are reflected in older adults’ cognitive speed and trouble remembering certain things right away.
According to the National Institutes of Health though, studies have shown that while healthy older adults may feel like they don’t perform as well as their younger counterparts when it comes to learning new things and testing their memories, if older adults are given more time they can perform just as well at these tests as young people.
Forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, typically manifest themselves differently from regular age-related memory loss.
According to the Mayo Clinic, those who may be in the early stages of dementia express troubling symptoms beyond mere memory loss and affect daily performance and ability. These symptoms include:
• Asking the same questions repeatedly
• Forgetting common words and mixing words up during speech
• Misplacing items in inappropriate places
• Getting lost in a familiar area
• Showing sudden changes in mood or behavior
If you or a loved one begin showing these symptoms, consult with your doctor.
While there is no cure for memory loss caused by diseases like Alzheimer’s, there are healthy lifestyle choices you can make that may help prevent memory loss.
• Some studies have found that physical exercise is not just good for cardiovascular health, but also for the brain. The CDC recommends that older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days per week.
• The well-known MacArthur study on memory loss found that the trait that correlated most with mental function in older adults was their level of education. Keep your brain active everyday by reading, learning new hobbies, playing games that challenge your thinking skills.
• Studies show that those who smoke are more at risk for memory loss, as it causes a range of complications that can contribute to or accelerate age-related memory loss.
• Make sure that you get sufficient sleep. More and more studies are associating sleep with the way our brain processes and stores information, meaning that a good night’s sleep may be essential to prevent memory loss. It is recommended that you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.