We’ve all forgotten a phone number, misplaced our keys, or blanked on the title of a movie we’ve just seen. It’s important to distinguish between what’s normal when it comes to memory loss and when you should be concerned. A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. The first step to staying mentally sharp is to understand the difference between natural forgetfulness and serious memory problems.
Normal vs. Not Normal
As we get older, we experience physiological changes that can cause brain function glitches. It takes longer to learn and remember information. We’re not as quick as we used to be. We mistake this slowing of our brain processes for true memory loss. But in most cases, if we give ourselves time, the information will come to mind.
You find yourself standing in the middle of your bedroom wondering what you went in there for. You start to talk about a store you just recently visited when you realize you can’t remember the name! Forgetfulness is a common complaint among older adults. Memory lapses can be frustrating, but most of the time they aren’t cause for concern. Age-related memory changes are not the same thing as dementia.
When memory loss becomes so severe that it disrupts your work, hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, you may be experiencing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, or another disorder that causes dementia. If you are experiencing these severe symptoms or can’t tell the difference, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to assess the situation.
Keep Sharp Tips
Improve Your Sleeping Habits: When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at full capacity. Creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are compromised. While trying to juggle life’s many demands, sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster. Sleep is necessary for consolidating your memory and the main memory enhancing activity occurs during the deepest stages of sleep.
Make Time for Friends and Fun: Crossword puzzles, word searches and a slew of other “serious” activities can help; doing fun stuff is also SUPER beneficial to preserving/strengthening your memory. People with more active social lives have the slowest rate of memory decline, studies show. So get out there, be social and LAUGH. Laughter is very beneficial to all kinds of positive brain functions.
Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet: The brain needs fuel just like the body does! The healthiest food for the brain is one based on veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. It can actually improve your memory. Ask your doctor if any vitamins/supplements can add an extra boost to your brain function.
Click here for brain boosting recipes.
Incorporate NEW Activities Into Your Life: By the time you’ve reached adulthood, your brain has developed tons of pathways that help you process info quickly. But if you’re always doing the same thing your brain is not being stimulated. Go take a yoga class, grab a book from your local library on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about. Don’t think about doing it, just do it!
Michelle Petrovic is a writer for Retiring Wise. Give us a call at (800)401-8114 to talk to one of our licensed professionals. They can discuss your financial situation with you and determine if a reverse mortgage makes sense for you and your financial goals.