Memory and Ageing in the Modern World

December 4, 2017

Image Credit: monkeybusinessimages / iStock

 

The fact that ageing is inevitable will hardly surprise any of our readers, but the way this process is dramatically changing in the recent years is astounding. It’s hard to keep up with the relevant news on the subject, but diseases are being eradicated, the secrets concealed in the human genome are being uncovered, and new perspectives are opening up at a very optimistic rate.


New advances in modern medicine, a considerable shift in contemporary lifestyle and psychological and social attitudes towards this natural process makes ageing in our time very different from 50 years ago. It means that adults today have to reinvent this time of their lives in a pioneering way, starting with the fact that today it is common to simultaneously have both living parents and grandchildren. Seniors today are healthier, happier and far more active than they used to be ever before in history.

There are so many aspects to ageing that it’s impossible to cover them all in one article.
Let’s consider memory issues – a problem that most people have to deal with as they grow older, at least to some degree.


Fighting memory loss

Some age-related memory loss is considered normal due to the deterioration of the hippocampus, hormonal changes and decreased blood flow to the brain. However, at least some of it can be attributed to the fact that many seniors stop learning new things and become less socially engaged. The active age is extending significantly as we speak, with 65-year-olds taking up freediving, 70-year-olds undertaking new careers and 80-year-olds running the marathon, and there are things a person of any age can undertake in order to prolong the functional and happy period of their lives by improving their memory, for one.


Helpful tips – use any combination for positive changes

Unless someone exhibits troubling symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, memory can generally be improved at any point of a person’s life with regular effort and determination. Early signs of Alzheimer’s often go unnoticed, and are often mistaken for mild absentmindedness, but the gradual and noticeable decline in cognition should be reviewed by a qualified neurologist.


What are some of the things that may help you avoid memory loss?

  • Education in any form. Take a class online or at a school, watch educational videos, do anything that will make your brain cells form new neural connections. Choose something you’ve always been curious about and get a double benefit of an active brain and an emotional boost.
  • Stay mentally alert in everyday activities. These range from deliberately taking alternate walking and driving routes and playing chess to meditation and breathing practices.
  • Find the most enjoyable venues for regular social interaction and attend regularly.
  • Eat and sleep well. Make sure that there are enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and give your brain enough time to process the day’s events.
  • Exercise your body. Improving blood circulation will help your brain maintain all of its functions in shape.
  • Exercise your memory. Make an effort, and it will pay off fast enough to make you go on. Learn a language, do crossword puzzles, learn to play a musical instrument. Rely on your memory in ways that you haven’t before, foregoing grocery lists or do special memory exercises.

An intellectually fulfilled senior life is absolutely possible, and it’s never too late to start.

Just ask Masako Wakamiya, who launched her first mobile app at the age of 81, or James Aruda Henry, a fisherman who learned to read at 91 and published his autobiography at 98, or Rene Neira, 82, who decided to attend college along with his granddaughter and is working towards a degree in economics.

And then create your own legendary story.

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