It seems to be a fact of life that as people grow older they begin to worry that slight memory lapses indicate something larger. For most, little slips in memory are just a normal part of aging and nothing to be concerned about. Know that everyone loses some memory capacity as they age. If you have a knowledge that you are forgetting something but remember what you were trying to think of later, this is considered a normal, healthy part of aging.
But forgetfulness for others can indicate a larger problem. The concern is when the memory doesn’t come back or the senior doesn’t know that they don’t remember – for example, regularly forgetting plans and not realizing they were supposed to be somewhere. If you or a loved one are showing more concerning signs of memory loss, it is best to get evaluated by a physician as soon as possible.
For those with normal age-related forgetfulness, there are some steps that can be taken to keep the mind as sharp as possible.
Currently, there are no medications that are clinically proven to prevent or improve memory loss for seniors. There are some medications that are used for clinically diagnosed dementia that may lessen the symptoms, but ultimately can not prevent the disease from progressing in the long-run.
There are also supplements that claim to help prevent memory loss and improve brain function. These are not FDA approved and there is not enough research done on the supplements to support these assertions. It’s best to discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of taking one daily.
To sum up, the best way to improve memory for seniors is to live an overall healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to eat well, exercise or stop smoking. Your primary care doctor can clear you for a new exercise program or help you with diet or smoking cessation. No matter how old you are when making these changes, they will still have a positive impact overall.
If you are concerned about you or your loved one’s memory, our Edna Young Gordon Healthy Brain and Memory Center can evaluate and provide a personalized plan to address your specific concerns. For more information, call Abramson Care Advisors at 215.371.3400. A senior care expert is available free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.