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Lapses you experience at old age

By Folake Aina
If you are a woman who is over forty years old, and you have not began to notice some lapses in your memory, then you are very lucky. For most women, memory  lapses are a normal part of aging.

Many women get to a certain age and they are either scared worried or anxious when they misplace their keys, or when they forget faces and names, or cannot even remember a number that they have dialed so many times.

Sometimes, you leave a room to do something in another room, and by the time you get to the other room, you do not even remember what you came for in the first place. Does that remind you of what is going on with you?

Today, I really have good news for you. I want those that are not there yet to know that there are ways to prevent memory loss and for those that are experiencing it, to know that there are ways to manage it. It is also good to know that it is not a sign that things are going wrong  and it is not a sign of mental deterioration or disease,  but on the contrary, it is part of the ageing process.

The other good news is that maintaining a good memory is totally under your control.  We can allow  or accept memory loss as part of the ageing process (Which is really what it is) or we can get educated on the subject and realize that we do not have to settle for it.

Research and study have shown that the brain is capable of producing new cells at any age.  But there several factors cause aging brains to experience changes in the ability to retain and retrieve memories .For instance, an older person often experiences decreased blood flow to the brain and processes nutrients that enhance brain activity less efficiently than a younger person.

That is a fact. Many  changes can cause glitches in brain functions you’ve always taken for granted. You might have trouble remembering details of a movie you saw recently or directions to somewhere that you have been before.

It might take you longer to recall names, faces, and locations, even if you’ve seen
them before. You might get flustered if you have to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.
Keep in mind, that even though we are all quick to say that “we forgot” I t is actually not much of forgetfulness, it is more of a slowing in the ability to absorb, s tore, and retrieve new information, not a loss. You can make and recall new long-term memories; the process just takes a little longer.

The other good news is that as all the above are going on, many brain functions are largely unaffected by normal aging.

For instance you  still remember things you’ve always done and do often , you do not forget  the wisdom and knowledge you’ve acquired from life experience , you still have the ability to form reasonable arguments and judgments .

That I think is very encouraging. If we had to lose all the above, that would be cause for concern.
The first thing you want to do is be very realistic about it, and begin to try to manage it. Even if you are experiencing a troublesome level of memory loss, there are many things you can do to learn new information and retain it.

The number one most effective is writing things down. You must leave yourself notes or make checklists. When you have appointments, or important dates, write them in a diary (make sure you check your diary every day)  or put them in calendars or in your electronic organizer. You must do the same for phone numbers.

If you realize that you have problems remembering how to do something, then write down the steps. That way anytime you want to do it, you just use your notes. Same thing with getting to places. Write down directions, and you can always refer to your noted next time you want to go there.

I wrote in the beginning that you can prevent memory loss. Anything that you can do to healthy ageing or ageing gracefully would definitely contribute to healthy memory.  It has been proven that when you exercise, more oxygen is supplied to the brain and this is good for the brain.

So it goes to say that regular exercise is a preventive measure for memory loss. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains healthy diet helps. Antioxidants keep the brain from rusting etc

Now we all must learn to manage stress, depression, and all negative emotions.
The next thing you must make sure is that you always get enough sleep. Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation. You must also learn to use your brain.  Someone said of the brain, that you either use or loose it.

You must give the brain  itself excercise by putting it to work.  Just as physical exercise can make and keep your body stronger, mental exercise can make your brain work better and lower the risk of mental decline.

One way of excercising the brain is by playing games that have strategy. You also work crosswords and puzzles. Being happy for instance is very good for the brain.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.