Why Do You Forget as You Age?
Starting around the age of 50, most people notice some slight changes in their memory. You might forget what day it is, misplace your wallet, miss paying one of your bills or have trouble thinking of the right word when you need it.
While these are considered normal declines in memory (and by age 65 nearly everyone notices some), they can still be disconcerting and serve as a reminder that your brain is not working up to its optimal potential. These ‘brain farts’ or ‘senior moments’ can, quite simply, make you feel like you’re getting old …
Why Does Your Memory Decline With Age?
Your brain is capable of growing new neurons throughout your life, however unless you’re actively promoting this process, known as neurogenesis, it will gradually slow. In fact, your brain reaches its maximum size when you’re in your 20s and then begins to slowly shrink, volume-wise. As you get older, blood flow to your brain also decreases, which can impact your brain function.
Interestingly, not all cognitive abilities decline with age. Some actually stay the same and some even improve. According to the American Psychological Association, examples of brain functions that tend to decline or slow down with time include:[i]
- Episodic memory (the ‘what,’ ‘when,’ and ‘where’ of your daily life)
- Longer-term memory
- Information processing and learning something new
- Doing more than one task at a time and shifting focus between tasks may take longer
As for your procedural memory, or your memory of how to do things like read a clock, this typically stays the same as you age while semantic memory, the ability to recall concepts and facts not related to experience (like the fact that clocks tell time), tends to improve as you get older.
When is Memory Decline NOT Normal?
You may be wondering if your recent forgetfulness is normal age-related memory loss … or if it’s a sign of something more serious like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. First, find out if, in fact, you’re starting to lose your memory by taking this short quiz.
Then, compare your symptoms to this chart from the Alzheimer’s Association,[ii] which helps you compare what’s normal and what’s not …
|Signs of Alzheimer’s||Typical age-related changes|
|Poor judgment and decision making||Making a bad decision once in a while|
|Inability to manage a budget||Missing a monthly payment|
|Losing track of the date or the season||Forgetting which day it is and remembering later|
|Difficulty having a conversation||Sometimes forgetting which word to use|
|Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them||Losing things from time to time|
If you’re still not sure, here are 10 more signs that may indicate early Alzheimer’s disease, as opposed to normal age-related changes.[iii] Of course, if you have any concern make an appointment with your health care provider to find out for sure.
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
Age-Related Memory Loss is NOT Inevitable …
One of the biggest misnomers of aging is that you have to become a slower, more forgetful ‘you.’ Yet, we’ve all seen examples (and perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to be close to someone like this) of people who are quick-witted and sharp as a tack even in their 90s and beyond. No one knows for sure what the secret is to keeping your mental faculties strong as you age, but there are some pretty good theories out there, many of which have been proven by science.
Research strongly suggests, in fact, that with the following steps you can drastically reduce your risk of age-related brain changes like memory loss:
- Stay social and stimulate your brain (participating in reading, writing and other brain-stimulating activities now can protect your memory later in life, too[iv])
- Eat right, including omega-3 fats and plenty of B vitamins
- Avoid memory-zapping medications like pain meds, antidepressants, statins and sleeping pills
- Meditate, get proper sleep and use stress-reduction techniques regularly
- Keep a positive attitude about aging, which has been shown to actually improve memory performance in older adults[v]
- Exercise regularly
Finally, there’s one more simple step you can take for ongoing brain support, and that is flooding your brain with memory-boosting nutrients like alpha-lipoic acid, L-tyrosine, ginkgo biloba and vinpocetine … AND stress-busting adaptogenic herbs for optimal brain function … AND even more natural ingredients for calming your anxiety and improving your mood … using Advanced Memory Support — the natural way to protect and get back your razor-sharp memory.
Lifestyle is your first line of defense, but Advanced Memory Support acts as both your shield and your secret weapon to ward off age-related brain changes.
Written By: Updated: August 14,2013