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Problems with Getting Older

Discussion at a recent gathering of friends revealed that I was not alone in the forgetfulness stakes. Almost everyone admitted to increasing frequency of failing to remember names, places and assorted facts.

The young lady smiled broadly as she walked towards me pushing a pram. The smile told me I ought to know this person, so I engaged her in polite, conversation about the weather, trying to glean a clue as to her identity.

After what seemed an eternity, her name shot into my consciousness. We chatted about her baby, and her family, and I was relieved to have dredged her name from the murky depths of my memory.

Was this latest experience of memory-lapse merely an extension of a life-long inability to remember names? Or war it another example of advancing years causing creeping mental arthritis?

Discussion at a recent gathering of friends revealed that I was not alone in the forgetfulness stakes. Almost everyone admitted to increasing frequency of failing to remember names, places and assorted facts. Although we agreed that memory returned with helpful triggers or reminders from partners, but retracing your steps didn't always help you recall why they were there in the first place.

I imagine that all of you are too young and thrusting to have gone through any of the above, but it is a fact that you will lose some mental agility, as you grow older. This kind of memory loss responds well to hints and clues to jog your memory into action.

Don't for a moment think this is the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. People suffering from Alzheimer's can't put their finger on what is wrong and try to hide their confusion. Their personality, behaviour and language all change as a result. This is not us!

Where was I? ... Oh, yes.

You don't need to give in to memory loss. Fight back by keeping your mind razor-sharp, or as sharp as it ever was. Here are a few things you might consider acting on: -

Stay physically active - A 30 minute brisk walk at least three times a week is safe and effective for keeping the brain working properly. And it's cheap as well!

Use it or lose it - A phrase trotted out for many things and is also true for your brain. Make it work just like you work those muscles to keep fit. Read a book, do a crossword, start a hobby, learn a new skill such as painting, try sudoku, anything to make you think.

Keep in touch - Don't become isolated, keep up with friends and associates, or volunteer to help a charity.

Check your tablets - Many prescription medicines can affect memory and can interact with each other to cause dizziness and memory loss. Get your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications, both prescription and counter products. You may be able to cut the dose of one or two without affecting the benefits, while minimising side effects.

Check your blood pressure - High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in your brain (as well as in your heart and kidneys) and adversely affect the memory.

Medical disorders - Sleep problems, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, thyroid problems and diabetes cause some memory loss. Diagnosis and treatment can control it.

The menopause - Symptoms such as lack of sleep, stress and hormonal changes can lead to fuzzy thinking and lack of concentration. Fortunately everything goes back to normal after the menopause.

Review your lifestyle - Try to get new balance in your life by changing unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive drinking and poor eating choices. Write yourself a note and stick it on the back of the door so you see it before you go out - Have you got your keys, mobile phone, trousers on, etc.?

I have every intention of staying alert, sharp and engaged for many years to come. Now, why am I standing in the garden shed, wearing pyjamas and carrying my car keys?

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