Forgetfulness can affect anyone. Most adults experience moments when they cannot find their keys. And once the keys are found, they move on without giving much thought as to why they did not immediately remember where they left their keys in the first place.
Minor bouts of forgetfulness do not occur by accident. In fact, the Harvard Medical School notes that they are likely byproducts of age-related changes in thinking skills. When people reach their 50s, chemical and structural changes in the brain may begin to occur, and these changes can affect a person’s ability to process memories.
Father Time may be a formidable foe, but people can take steps to give their memories a boost as they get older.
Recognize the value of repetition. Harvard Medical School notes that people might be more inclined to remember what they hear if they repeat it out loud. Repetition increases the likelihood that the brain will record the information and be capable of retrieving it later. When studying for exams, many students repeat important points to themselves time and again, and that same approach can be applied by adults who are trying to improve their memories.
Eat a healthy diet. A 2015 study published the journal “Neurology” found people who eat healthy diets with lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish and little alcohol and red meat may be less likely to experience declines in their memory and thinking skills. Authored by Andrew Smyth of McMaster University in Ontario and the National University of Ireland in Galway, the study followed more than 27,000 people in 40 countries for roughly five years. All participants were 55 years and older and had diabetes or a history of heart disease, stroke or peripheral artery disease. Those who ate the healthiest diets were 24 percent less likely to experience cognitive decline than people with the least healthy diets.
Break things down. Breaking things down into small chunks also can help improve memory. If tasked with remembering something extensive like a speech, focus on a single sentence at a time. Only move on to the next sentence when you’re confident you have successfully committed the preceding sentence to memory.
Periodic memory lapses are often nothing to worry about, but those concerned about maintaining their memories can employ various strategies to do just that.