Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2 ways to improve forgetfulness

By Yelena Sapin

We all have those “senior moments” when we forget what we wanted to say or why we walked into a room. We may have trouble recalling a conversation, a name, the plot of a movie we watched, or whether we took our medicine. Some memory lapses and a general decline in sharpness can be a normal part of aging, but it can also signal that something more serious is going on mentally or physically. “A red flag is if you’re seeing your daily functioning negatively impacted or disrupted by forgetfulness or confusion,” says psychologist and neuropsychologist Dr. Jacquelyn Graven.

Read on for two simple solutions to help solve problems of forgetfulness.

Solution 1: Train Your Brain
Keep your brain active and engaged. Mentally demanding activities such as reading, doing crossword puzzles, or learning new skills all stimulate your brain. You can also do ‘neurobics,’ says Graven, which are exercises that change up your regular patterns to challenge your brain. For example, try brushing your teeth with your left hand if you normally brush with your right. And don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy diet and physical exercise in maintaining brain function.

Solution 2: Get Help
Set up a regular schedule and daily routine to keep track of what you need to do, Graven says. If you’re having trouble, enlist family and outside support or consult a professional to help build the structure you need. Use technology such as electronic or online reminders, scheduling programs, and pillboxes with timers and alarms to help manage your medicines. And consider getting a neuropsychological evaluation, Graven says, not only to rule out an underlying problem, but also to establish a baseline to monitor your memory function over time.

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