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By American Counseling Association
Special to Village News 

Now, what was it I wanted to remember to tell you?

 

Last updated 7/17/2018 at 8:35am



As people grow older, they tend to forget more often than they once did. Although memory loss is a natural part of the aging process, experts have said it usually isn’t problematic for most people until after age 70.

It doesn’t mean that someone might not be forgetful, even though 70 still may be a ways off. Everyone has memory lapses, regardless of their age. Even teenagers forget things, like cleaning their rooms or that English assignment, but as people get older, they notice more the frustrations that forgetting can bring.

Fortunately, if someone finds their memory really does seem weaker and more troublesome than it used to be, there are steps they can take to combat the problem.

A health check is a starting point. Talk with a physician about all medicines, including over the counter, supplements and prescriptions and have a cholesterol and blood pressure check done. These things, as well as some diseases, have been linked to memory problems.

Researchers report smoking and heavy alcohol use can also affect memory. Harvard Medical School studies found that smokers perform much worse than non-smokers in memory and thinking skills tests.

Staying physically and mentally active can also combat memory loss. When regular exercise increases blood flow for better brain health and function. Studies have found that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, like walking or jogging five times a week, may even reverse some memory issues.

There's also some evidence that an active brain performs better. A full social life, interacting with family and friends, is one way to accomplish it. Anything that challenges the brain, from puzzles to playing games to reading and writing, also appears to stimulate brain cells and their connections.

A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, but low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may also benefit brain health. And yes, fish really may be brain food, especially when it’s fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna.

Occasional forgetfulness isn’t a reason to worry. Simply writing things down to remember them can reduce memory frustration but do pay attention if the memory issues are more severe.

If someone forgets things much more frequently, has difficulty learning new tasks, repeats phrases or stories in the same conversation or forgets how to do things they’ve done many times before, there may be a more serious problem. Talk with a doctor or professional counselor for an evaluation.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit http://www.counseling.org.

 

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