"I'm late and I can't find my keys! I know that I put them on the kitchen counter, but they aren't there... Oh you know who I'm talking about. What's his name... I have been down this road before. We take a right, or is it a left?..." Have we all not had these conversations a few times in our lives where we blank out on something that we should remember? Ahhhh... the aging process. So what is normal and when should we be concerned? I guess that the first step in staying mentally sharp as you age is to know what is "normal" forgetfulness due to stress and what might be a serious memory problem.
Forgetfulness can be an uphill battle at times. It's nothing to laugh about. Ok... sometimes it is. I find myself talking about a movie and even though I just recently saw it, I can't remember the title of the dumb thing. Well, maybe it wasn't that good. Haha. The worst thing lately is going into the kitchen to get something and not remembering what it was that I was going to get. Oh boy. Memory lapses can be dog gone frustrating. But fortunately, the ones I'm experiencing don't have too much cause for concern as they are more age-related than symptoms of dementia. The main difference between those two is that temporary memory loss isn't disabling. It has little impact on your daily tasks and ability to do what you want to do.
And you know that I am still doing what I want to do!! Like yesterday...
But, in all seriousness... fishing is about the only thing that I don't forget things. Oh wait. I can't say that. So, I get to the river a couple hours away from home and I can't find my PMD fly box. I had sifted through all of my boxes and made a special trip to the fly shop to put together this box for the trip. So, I put on my pouty face and headed down the river with the boxes that would have to work. Yeah, no fish for two hours. I threw out the kitchen sink at them! I couldn't believe that there weren't any caddis flying around. There is always caddis, aren't there? Nope, just size 22 pale morning duns. And spinners. So, I dug deep into my pack and came up with a Barr's Emerger. Yay! This bug has saved my goat a lot lately. It's almost like my go-to fly. I LOVE IT!!! The Barr's is a great mayfly imitiation. It can imitate a blue wing olivie, pale morning dun, or other maylfies. It's simple and effective and the next fly that I am going to learn how to tie!
So, BAM!!! As soon as I put this fly on, I had a fish. And a couple more before I had to head off to lunch. When I met back up with my friend, Holly, we decided that we would go down the road for the afternoon and fish another river. I always am in favor of new water and especially when I don't have the right fly box! Yikes... I do remember putting it in the car the night before. I had searched through all my bags earlier. But, I had missed my boot bag because well... why would it be in there? You guessed it.
For some ridiculous reason, I had thrown a few things in my newly laundered boot bag to take out to the car. When emptying it out and putting those things into my fanny pack, I missed this one plastic box. Well, it was dark outside to my defense! Lol. And then the boots went on top of it and end of story. = (
So, what are some of the reversible causes of memory loss?
Studies have shown that the side effects of medication, taking three or more medications, depression, vitamin B12 deficiency, thryroid problems, alcohol abuse, and STRESS are common factors in forgetfulness.
How can we prevent memory loss from increasing?
Well, it seems that there are actually some simple things that we can do.
1. EXERCISE!!! Manages stress and leads to a healthier brain. Researchers have said that walking can cut your memory loss in half. Who doesn't like to walk along a river bank?
2. Stay social. Interacting with others challenges the brain. In many different ways... haha.
3. Watch your diet. Fruits and vegetables! And antioxidants are very useful in keeping your brain cells active. Eat those omega-3 fats that are in a tuna fish sandwich! And avoid those saturated and trans fats which can increase your risk of a stroke.
4. Manage that stress. It's easier said than done, I know. But, memory difficulties are definitely linked to cortisol, the stress hormone. Learning new things and concentrating can be effected greatly. Lessen the load and you will start feeling better.
5. Sleep. The brain needs to revamp. Lack of sleep will effect your concentration and decision making and can cause depression too. One of the most important remedies to stay alert and responsive to the "little things" that you should remember!
6. Brain excercises. What are those, you ask? Well, when it comes to memory, you have to use it or lose it. Besides physical exercise, is mental exercise. Playing games can increase those brain cells. Anything strategic like scrabble, word games, chess or bridge. Reading is a great excercise. Learning a new skill. Maybe just cooking up a new recipe, a new household project, playing piano, or tying up a new bug pattern on the vise. These all can engage the brain and help the memory in the long run.
So, here's to better memories of what we want to remember... = )