In life, memories are among the most cherished things we possess. When we bond with people and create new experiences, they give us memories we can keep throughout our lifetime. This makes life worthwhile and more exciting. We also remember what we learn and carry that knowledge through the years.
An unfortunate thing about memories is that, for some people, they are wiped from their minds due to their memory health and cognitive decline. Their memories start to fade, and becoming forgetful is more common.
This is a significant concern for people entering their senior years! It is perhaps safe to say that practically everyone hopes they never suffer from dementia or memory loss.
Forgetfulness and Aging
Aging is often met with several worries; after all, no one wants to see and feel all the physical signs and discomforts that tend to come with aging. Besides biological aging, cognitive decline, deteriorating memory, and forgetfulness are natural realities that happen to many people as they age.
Older people who become forgetful can take longer to process and learn new things. While mild cases of forgetfulness are considered normal, progressive memory loss tends to be serious as it is more advanced. This is where a doctor’s consultation is necessary. Here are the warnings that it’s time to talk to a doctor about the possibility of progressive memory loss.
- Having trouble following simple directions.
- Finding oneself lost in a place that used to be familiar.
- Asking the same questions repeatedly.
- A sense of confusion with people, places, and time.
- Poor hygiene, such as not taking a bath.
- Forgetting to eat during meal hours.
- Reckless behavior.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment is a memory health condition where older people experience losing their belongings, forget to attend necessary appointments, and have difficulty remembering the right words to say or use in conversation. People with mild cognitive impairment or MCI suffer more cognitive-related problems than most people in their age group.
MCI could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s Disease, but not all people with MCI develop Alzheimer’s. Early detection and regular check-ups with a doctor could help prevent mild cognitive impairment from escalating further.
Dementia is a severe health condition characterized by a loss of cognitive abilities, including thinking, reasoning, memory, attention, and learning. The symptoms of Dementia are extreme and ultimately disable a person from living everyday life.
Dementia is not a natural part of aging but a serious memory health condition that affects many aspects of life. Some people with Dementia can experience significant personality changes. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of Dementia that affects older people.
General Causes of Age-Related Memory Loss
There is nothing pleasant about losing precious memories. Here are some of older people’s most common causes of memory loss.
- High blood pressure boosts the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of Dementia.
- The natural hormones or proteins that stimulate neural growth or repair brain cells start to decline as people age.
- The region in the brain responsible for keeping memories, called the hippocampus, also begins to deteriorate with age.
How to Take Care of Your Memory and Cognitive Health
Becoming mildly forgetful can be an inevitable part of aging, but healthy practices can keep memory and cognitive health in good shape.
- Get enough sleep every night. Getting a fraction of seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial for the brain to repair itself and remain sharp throughout the day.
- Eat nutritious food. The food we eat is also the food we feed our brains. Good quality diet will go a long way in maintaining a healthy brain.
- Stay physically active. Cultivate a regular exercise routine to keep the body and the brain in good condition.
- Prevent high blood pressure as much as possible. High blood pressure can damage the brain’s tiny blood vessels that maintain memory and cognition. Avoiding hypertension is a positive step in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia.
- Learn a new skill. Constant learning is a great way to keep the brain active and healthy.
- Build healthy relationships with other people. Humans aren’t meant to do it alone. As social beings, having a lot of friends and enjoying life can prove beneficial not only to our cognitive health but also to our emotions and memory.
- Drink moderately. In excessive amounts, alcohol can kill brain cells, but drinking in moderation may enhance memory and cognition. Keep those number of bottles or wine glasses in check.
Losing your memory and becoming forgetful is not something anyone wants, and it is why it is a significant concern most seniors fear. It’s okay to age, it happens to all of us, but it would be nice to age and keep the brain working!