After plowing through a dozen articles on short term memory loss for seniors, I think I forgot what I hoped to find. No one can deny that this is part of aging. For many of us it is the most intimidating part of aging. We can exercise, eat better, supplement our way into more longevity. But what about those patches of brain fog we experience , those momentary lapses, the moments of trying to recall a name, remember what we were doing next. The anxiety of having them prolongs them.
We are wired to expect a lot of ourselves in terms of recall. I remember sitting at Dr. Bill Thomas’s Disrupting Aging Tour several months back and hearing him explain assuredly as a geriatrician, why as older folks we just have a longer list of things to remember. That slower recall is not a sign of impending doom.
Okay good, but that is too easy a magic wand to make the anxiety of worrying about your recall skills go away. Some of us have always been better at remembering faces more than names, some just the opposite. Others have had certain sets of information that were more important for our jobs and are glad post job to forget them. Yes, there are ways to exercise the neuro-plasticity of your brain, but some of those have recently been discredited.
The truth is one of the best things you can do when thinking you are forgetting old things is to learn new things. The most interesting piece of information I found is that you remember things better after you have a new experience as your brain switches to this is new, important, I need to remember it mode. Doing something out of the ordinary helps your brain make new connections. That is why I personally think the challenges of keeping up with your own living situation is a good thing.
So stop worrying if it takes you a few moments to recapture something you think you should have on the tip of your tongue. Plan that elaborate trip, garden or party. By elaborate I do not mean expensive I mean complicated. At least try a craft or a hobby that has always interested you. Do something you have never done before. I am not saying take a long car trip without your GPS, but make things a little more complicated. Seeing yourself respond and adapt should be part of it own reward.
So for all the reading I did about blocking, transience memory it seems just trying to challenge you memory is the best thing. You can chant in meditation , sleep more, as always exercise more, choose your supplements well, have a drink a day(for females per New England Journal of Medicine!) to help prevent memory decline. But living without fearing the worst may be the best antidote as you will challenge yourself and believe in your self.