Forget where you put your keys this morning? Blanking on the name of an old friend? Don’t worry, you are not alone. While everyone forgets small stuff every now and then, memory loss is something that should not be taken lightly — especially as we age.
While not all memory loss is preventable, there are some things you can do to keep your brain in top condition.
- Keep challenging yourself: Use games, puzzles, or any other methods to challenge your brain. Learn something new or even pick up a new hobby. Just as the body needs exercise, the brain needs to be stimulated to stay in shape, too!
- Get enough sleep: We all know that sleep helps your body feel better, but did you also know that it can help with your memory? Sleep is critical to the brain’s ability to learn and remember. So getting enough can have a direct impact upon memory loss, especially as we age. Make sleep a priority and aim for seven to eight hours each night.
- Be a social butterfly: Both stress and depression are directly related to memory loss. To avoid feeling down or alone, stay connected with friends, family, or other social circles. Schedule regular coffee or lunch dates to catch up with people. If you are stressed, seek out management techniques to better cope. The more you ward off stress and depression, the more you can prevent a decline in memory.
- Mix it up: Sticking to the same routine everyday can be helpful, but it also prevents the brain from working in a new way. Try taking different routes to the store, brush your hair with the other hand, prepare your favorite food in a different way, or try something you’ve never done before. Continuing to do new things will help your memory sharp.
- Partner with your health care provider: Always be sure to talk to your doctor about current chronic conditions and the management of those conditions. Ask about side effects of medications; some may include memory loss or other side effects you will want to be aware of. Focusing on taking care of yourself will improve overall health and wellness.
Memory loss doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of aging. Staying active and creative can help prevent cognitive problems down the road as well as memory issues. If you are worried about memory loss, be sure to consult with your doctor. Discuss your risk and options for keeping your memory sharp. If you do have memory loss, you can talk over your options and whether additional tests are needed.