Memory Loss In Old Age



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When I was in school, my grandmother often forgot where she had kept her spectacles and would offer us kids a piece of Cadbury chocolate if we found them for her! It became a habit to earn that chocolate and we would wish that she misplaced her specs every other day!!

My Pappa encouraged all of us including my grandmother to eat soaked and peeled almonds everyday so that our memory remained sharp, he claimed. Then we would wonder how could Granny be so forgetful in spite of eating those almonds!! Funnily enough, this ritual of forgetfulness continued after my marriage too, as both my father in law 70+ of age and mother in law 60+ would misplace their specs and offer us chocolates to find them! It was very amusing that they felt like ‘bribing’ their newly married ‘bahus’ with chocolates, in order to find their glasses!! We would have done it even otherwise.

That is when I realized , they were suffering from short term memory loss due to ageing. I decided that when I become old, I shan’t endure the same indignity. It was not just about forgetting your  specs but many more things, like names of people, misplacing keys, unable to remember why you entered the kitchen or opened a cupboard . Once my aunty, my Pappa’s sister came to meet us from her husband’s house & forgot her house keys at our home. My Pappa had to go & deliver it to her, some 3-4 Kms away where she stayed.

These slip ups occur with age but it doesn’t mean we are heading for Alzheimers! No way.

As Kristy Clark has said, “Understanding what Causes, Its Symptoms & Signs & Learn How to Prevent Memory Loss to Live a Healthy Old Age.”

Although there is no guarantee when it comes to preventing memory loss or dementia, certain activities might help. So avoid this short term memory loss, experts have given solutions to keep our brain sharp. Dr. Scott Turner lists some points:

1) Physical exercise is one of the best evidences for preservation of memory and mental function. Walk For Half An Hour everyday.

2) The brain needs mental stimulation and exercise too,so solve crossword puzzles, engage in mentally challenging activities like Sudoku, join a book club , do jigsaws and engage in quizzes. Take alternative routes while driving home etc.

3) Be socially active, play card games with friends, or chess, watch cricket or football together, discuss current affairs, go for movies etc. Specially when you are living alone, look for opportunities to meet your friends & loved ones. According to Dr. Turner, the more social one is, better is the preservation of memory and mental health.

4) In a notebook, write down all tasks you want to undertake for the day, important events coming up with the dates, appointments etc. Read the list loudly several times & at the end of the day, check out, how much you could complete.

5) Include fresh fruit, vegetables and fish  in your diet. Eat whole grains too. All these are good for brain as well as heart also.

6) Sleep well because disturbed sleep causes attention levels to drop. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and smoking before bedtime. An average adult will require seven to nine hours of sleep.

7) Be stress-free, do yoga and pranayama regularly. Yoga & Meditation helps to stay calm, stimulate the brain & gives overall good healthy lifestyle to any person who follows it regularly.

8) Diseases like depression, diabetes, thyroid and vitamin deficiency can cause memory loss, so regular  health check ups are a must. The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be.

Remember, forgetfulness is NOT an inevitable part of the Aging Process.

Lastly, be positive, cheerful, calm and take interest in everything around you, be it entertainment, exercise, current affairs, music etc.  to live a happy, healthy, fulfilling and ‘memorable’ life, and be alert and  “Young at Sixty  Plus”.

Harsha Mehta

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