Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
When we get older things change. We look different, and we feel different. In normal aging our bodies and our brains slow down. We maintain our intelligence, but our brains change. We are less physically and mentally flexible, and we take more time to process information. Our memory changes as well, and it’s more difficult to remember names, places and other things as we age. So what are specific examples of normal, old-age forgetfulness?
Recently, Harvard Medical School identified several normal memory problems:
The tendency to forget facts or events over time. You are most likely to forget information soon after you learn it.
This type of forgetting occurs when you don’t pay close enough attention. You forget where you just put your pen because you didn’t focus on where you put it in the first place.
Someone asks you a question and the answer is right on the tip of your tongue — you know that you know it, but you just can’t think of it.
Misattribution occurs when you remember something accurately in part, but misattribute some detail, like the time, place, or person involved.
Suggestibility is the vulnerability of your memory to the power of suggestion — information that you learn about an occurrence after the fact becomes incorporated into your memory of the incident, even though you did not experience these details.
In your memory, your perceptions are filtered by your personal biases — experiences, beliefs, prior knowledge, and even your mood at the moment.
The persistence of memories of traumatic events, negative feelings, and ongoing fears is another form of memory problem.Sometimes memory issues are not black and white. If you have any questions it is imperative to consult your doctor. Below are some additional commonly asked questions.
Can I prevent cognitive decline?
Some cognitive decline is a normal part of growing older. However, your lifestyle, diet and exercise can help maintain your brain health.
How can I slow the normal aging of the brain?
Studies show that obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all can increase your risk for dementia. There are any number of sensible, healthy food plans and advice available through books and the Internet.
Eat fruits, veggies and whole grains.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can reduce your risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The antioxidants in leafy greens,
cruciferous (such as broccoli, cabbage and turnips) and dark-skinned vegetables may be especially protective. Give beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, red bell peppers, romaine lettuce or spinach a try.
Avoid saturated fats.
Foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as red meat and whole-milk dairy products, can contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. To limit your intake of saturated fats, use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter when sautéing foods (or grill or roast your foods instead). When you eat meat, choose poultry or fish. Also, choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products over whole-milk products.
Get your omega-3s.
The most common source of omega-3 fatty acids is fatty fish, such as sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel and herring. To get your omega-3s, try to eat one of these types of fish once or twice a week.Talk to your doctor about taking supplements. Research shows that some vitamins, such as vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and foliate may help protect your brain. In addition to a healthy diet, taking a multivitamin may help ensure you get enough of these nutrients.