If you have memory issues, you don’t have early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Most people forget things now and then and it doesn’t matter how old you. It is also normal to be absent-minded as you age. If you can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday, who cares? You will recall important facts when the time comes. With a busy life, too many facts and figures try to get stored away in long-term memory and the short-term brain cells often fail us unexpectedly. If you panic, you will be stressed for no reason. Memory loss can be controlled. Studies show that you can improve it with vitamin supplements and basic learned skills. People who are organized seem to have an easier time with recalling appointments, phone numbers, people’s names, and their mother’s birthday.
If you are chaotic, your brain will reflect this condition. Getting a grip on your schedule, your obligations and responsibilities, and how to take charge of your time will help immensely. Taking a course in time management is a wonderful idea. Or you can read all the tips and tricks of the experts on line. They suggest puzzles and games to stimulate your mental ability and using acronyms to remember things. An example is OPEC which equals Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. You can make up any abbreviation you like if it helps with recall. Remember as a kid when you memorized the great lakes with the acronym, HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior).
Eating poorly and getting little to no exercise has an effect on the entire body, including memory. When you aren’t functioning at your peak level, your brain won’t either. Sleep is another major culprit when it comes to memory loss. People who get less than the required amount (around eight hours for most of us) will not perform well on memory tests. Sleep tips are very well known:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up the next day at a given time. In other words, regularity is the key to good sleep.
- Turn off the cell phone, computer, and TV well before bedtime as hard as this may be.
- Take melatonin or drink milk if you want a natural sleep aid.
- Do not drink coffee or any caffeine drink two hours before bed. For some people it is at dinner time.
- Keep the lighting low in your bedroom and close the drapes if there are intrusive exterior lights such as neon signs. Try to eliminate noise by using soft ear plugs.
- Use a cool mist humidifier (https://www.humidityhelper.com/best-cool-mist-humidifier-reviews/) if it is hot in your room. It is difficult to sleep when you are too hot or too cold. We all use heat or blankets for the first problem, but few people I know have a humidifier. You can breathe better as well.
There are the top tips for a great night’s sleep. Counting sheep isn’t on them, but some swear by it.
I love the challenge of research on the Internet. If it involves memory, so much the better. Most of the time, I just remember seeing relevant material and I can retrieve it in no time flat. You could say I have good recall. I also know that if you are on line as much as I am, you accumulate a bundle of facts and figures that you can use in various ways over time. My friends know this so when they have a problem to investigate, they call on me, knowing that I will say yes. I have been given a real assortment of things to research including the best crossbow for hunting deer, the most exotic island resort in the world, how to build a shed for the backyard, who is the most popular football player in the NFL, and more.
People want to know things and are too busy or lazy to look them up on their own. I am not. I am happy to do the job, and not for a fee. I do it for the sheer pleasure of the experience. I have my own projects and can easily take a break now and then to help someone else. If they want to know how to do the tango, if they want to buy an inflatable pool, if they want to learn to be better at toning up in the gym, or if they want instructions on running a home generator—they come to me. Life is full of questions and how to situations. The Internet is the great universal resource for anything and everything. More and more is added every day. If you spend time on line as I do, you immeasurably enhance your store of knowledge. Sometimes you just do something practical.
A case in point is that a friend needed a new pool heater for an above ground pool and gave me the task of finding out what kind, how to install it, and what it should ideally cost. He hoped to find a vendor in our area which narrowed down my search considerably. First I wanted to survey the scene and see what is new on the market in general. You have to have a model in mind before you hone in on discounts on price. Most people don’t install them on their own unless they have experience, so I suggested buying a good unit, having it delivered, and hiring a pool serviceman.
This is indeed what happened. I tried to tell him all the ins and outs of the heater, but he wasn’t interested. I trust your judgment he said. This is why he gave me the job in the first place. He didn’t want or need details, just reassurance that the best above ground pool heater was going to soon be right next to his swimming pool. He missed the warm water and buying a new heater was the easy answer. It often costs more to fix the old ones and they inevitably break down again.
I value the role of memory in our lives and relish each and every detail that might make it function better. The memory is the repository of lost thoughts, actions, happenings, and experiences; but they can be retrieved and repurposed. It is an automatic brain function to delve into this vast realm of storage that we have on tap. Anything whether it be exercise or eating certain vegetables that helps make the memory work better is valuable to me. I even believe in those miracle supplements they tout on line that will restore poor memory in a matter of weeks. Better that than, I feel you must use your memory all the time to keep it current and alive. We all live with so much stimulation in our lives that our brains can’t possibly register it all. We are lucky if we can recall one-tenth of what we experience. It depends of course on the importance of happenings whether they get stored permanently or not. Something that is trivial and mundane isn’t going to pass muster. Something that is what we called a life event will remain.
You ask why I care so much about memory. It is because you have one life to live and you want to be part and parcel of it all. You don’t want fragments of meaningful conversations or relationships to float away. Think how lucky those people are with total recall. You can mention a time and a place and they will vividly remember what happened exactly as it took place. How nice to have your entire life intact. So I practice memory games, do puzzles, and keep reminders around me to ensure I don’t let something slide. Some people think I go a bit too far. Memorizing lists of things to nudge the muscles of the brain might be a strain. I look for odd tricks and tips all the time that pertain to reconstituting memory. Now here’s one for the books. Someone told me—or did I read it online (I can’t remember oddly enough). It has to do with, as I recall, that someone recommends wearing compression socks like nurses wear when you runs to keep blood flowing back to his heart. This pumping of blood is a surefire boost to the memory, not just to your circulation alone. Okay, I believe wholeheartedly in the veracity of this one—it’s not just some old wives’ tale.
I absolutely am going to run out and get a pair of these heavy-duty socks that promote circulation in the legs, kind of like those you wear during surgery so you don’t get blood clots. It is simple science and it makes perfect sense. Besides, if it helps my memory, what can it hurt if it also has other wonder properties? Nurses wear them when they are on their feet for hours and hours. They know just how they work in principal. As for running, I don’t see many scurrying down hospital corridors, but as a side benefit, I can see how it applies.
The mind is like any other muscle in the body—it needs rest from time to time. The more information you try to process at once, and the longer you try to stay laser-focused, the wearier your brain will feel. I’m sure all of my readers remember cramming for a test at one point or another and how exhausting it is. In addition, there are activities—an important exam or any other very stressful, detail-oriented task that can leave you feeling mentally worn out. This will, in turn, affect your memory and both make it harder for you to recall information you already knew in addition to having trouble converting new information to memory. It is a type of mental fatigue that we’ve all experienced.
The question is, what do you do about it?
For me, the answer is easy—I take a break. Sometimes all I can manage is a quick 10-minute meditation session where I sit and quiet my mind. If that doesn’t work, or if it has been a particularly exhausting time, I find that the best thing to do is take a real break from my routine. Camping provides an excellent escape from the grind for me. I find that when I am doing things like gathering firewood, putting up a tent, fishing, or simply hiking to the campsite, I am not struggling to multitask. I can put all of my energy and focus on one thing at a time, something that I have trouble with at home. I can almost feel the mental fog lifting as I prepare the campsite and let go of things like work, school, email, and social media.
After a particularly grueling week recently, I went camping with a friend. It felt good to escape for a little while, even if it was only an overnight trip. We had heard that there was the potential for some rain that would make for a chilly night, so I packed my portable kerosene heater and some waterproof matches to the list of necessary items for me to pack. After a short hike to the campsite, we found that we were definitely going to need the heater for at least a little while. The ground was damp everywhere and dry wood was nearly impossible to find. As the sun set and the lack of kindling made it hard to keep our little fire going, we were able to turn on the kerosene heater and stay warm. We sat in front of the heater for a long time, making plans for the next day before turning in earlier than usual.
The next day dawned clear and bright, so we were confident we would be able to find some dry firewood. We went fishing and caught ourselves some dinner then headed back to the site. I cleaned the fish—another single-focused activity that helps me clear my mind—while my friend gathered the firewood we would need to cook the fish over; we were right that things dried out overnight and under the warm day’s sun. By the end of the day, with my belly full and my mind sharp and clear once more, I was nearly ready to go home and tackle the world again.
So the next time you find that it seems hard to recall information or remember what just happened, you might need to take a break. Listen to your body and do it!
Alzheimer’s disease has gotten a lot of press in recent years, which is a good thing. More people are attuned to the problem, and more people are giving to Alzheimer’s disease research. Hopefully, medical science will find a cure for this problem within the lifetimes of today’s aging population. Many of the young people alive today should be able to see a cure for Alzheimer’s happen within their lifetimes. They will appreciate it more than subsequent generations, since they will have lived through an age that understood Alzheimer’s and feared it.
A lot of researchers think Alzheimer’s is largely genetic. It runs in families. However, few diseases are entirely genetic. Individuals who have certain genetic risk factors can exacerbate the situation through certain lifestyle factors. People that don’t exercise enough and people that don’t socialize enough may be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. There may be a causal link between Alzheimer’s and hypertension as well. However, part of the horror of Alzheimer’s is the simple fact that many researchers aren’t certain about what causes Alzheimer’s.
It’s normal for some older people to be a bit forgetful, but Alzheimer’s patients will often have a hard time remembering things that happened to them very recently. This tends to be a preliminary symptom. However, Alzheimer’s patients will soon find it difficult to remember where they are at any given time. Their speech patterns will suffer as their verbal abilities decline. Some of them will have a difficult time remembering the people that they used to know, or even many of the details related to their personal lives. They may lose their ambition and motivation to do almost anything, including care for themselves. Alzheimer’s patients are quickly forced to move to assisted living facilities. They lose their independence in addition to everything else.
The stereotypes about aging people make it harder for researchers and doctors to properly diagnose and address Alzheimer’s. Some people dismiss memory loss as a fact of life, and they refer to most aged people as senile. There’s a tremendous difference between Alzheimer’s and the normal consequences of aging. For one thing, many people fail to realize that Alzheimer’s is effectively a terminal illness. Many people only live for nine years after they are first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and some people only survive for three years afterward.
A lot of us want to know what we can do to counteract Alzheimer’s on an individual and societal level. We can look after our family members who are suffering from the disease. We can manage our own diets and lifestyles to reduce our chances of developing the disease regardless of our genetics, since no one can change those. We can also all work together to support Alzheimer’s research, so scientists can work on developing treatments for the disease and so they can get better at diagnosing it in the first place. Alzheimer’s may one day be a thing of the past, but today, it is a truly terrifying fate that many of us are trying to desperately avoid as we age.
Lots of people experience memory problems. Plenty of different medical conditions can result in memory problems. A good portion of them are treatable, which is why people who are temporarily experiencing memory problems usually shouldn’t be overly concerned about them. It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing memory problems, of course, and it’s also important not to be too worried about it. Chances are your doctor is just going to tell you that everything’s fine.
I’ve found that drinking too much coffee sometimes affects my memory. The affect isn’t all that pronounced. Still, when I’ve had too much coffee, I’ll usually find that certain words are on the tip of my tongue and I can’t quite get them out, which can be irritating. Some of it’s the associated headaches, because who wants to remember anything during a headache?
Your stress level is going to affect your memory directly or indirectly. When you’re stressed, you’re probably going to be too distracted in order to remember anything anyway, so the stress will interfere with the way in which you process new memories. However, it’s possible that chronic stress can have severe long-term consequences on the brain, particularly in terms of memory.
People who struggle with depression are also more likely to have memory problems. These kinds of problems are sometimes used in order to diagnose depression. People with anxiety disorders can have memory problems, although these will usually be somewhat indirect. Individuals that are anxious all the time are not going to commit things to memory very effectively. Individuals who are depressed may be too listless to care. Whether these problems affect memory directly, indirectly, or both is hard to say. One way or another, individuals struggling with these mental illnesses may have additional challenges in the form of memory problems.
Of course, the main factor that’s going to affect memory is simply utilization. Lots of people work at jobs that don’t challenge them intellectually. They tend to socialize with the same people time and time again, and they aren’t challenged to remember new details about a person. Adults will build their own little worlds for themselves. It’s almost as if they start to lose their memory of what it’s like outside these worlds, since living in an environment that doesn’t challenge them is only going to affect their memory negatively.