Are You Forgetful? … Isn’t Everybody Our Age?

Rev. Suzanne Marlatt Stewart

The cruel reality is that we’re not getting any younger, and with aging comes consequences, like losing our mental sharpness. Ever forget the names of people or places, or what you had for breakfast today?

OK, I’ll speak for myself. I will go to a room for something and forget what I wanted. Our memory plays a vital role in staying on top of our game and making critical decisions. The good news is that memory can be improved through brain habits that can launch our memory power and give us a competitive edge. For example:

Get regular exercise. Physical activity can make your brain and mental health better. According to research, engaging in regular physical activity increases the size of the hippocampus, a key brain region responsible for memory formation. Exercise also enhances blood flow to the brain, promoting the growth of new neurons, and increasing synaptic connections. By making exercise a major consideration, you can boost your memory and sharpen your focus.

Eat healthy. Significantly increasing the chances that your brain will stay sharp and functioning at a high level may have everything to do with what goes in your mouth. According to an article published in Better Nutrition, a regular diet of fish and vegetables can actually “slow down cognitive decline by the equivalent of up to 19 years.” One study that followed 27,860 people in 40 countries for five years found that people with the healthiest diets were 24% less likely to have cognitive decline than people with the least healthy diets.

Stimulate your mind. Challenging your brain with mental exercises can improve memory and mental abilities. Activities like puzzles, reading, learning new skills, and playing strategic games help keep the brain active and enhance neural connections.

Manage your stress. Chronic stress and anxiety can impair memory and cognitive function. Enlisting stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and engaging in relaxing activities can help improve memory. Activities that can take as little as five to 10 minutes include practicing mindful meditation, listening to music, laughing and having fun, and going on a short nature walk.

Enjoy the following …

Three older brothers who are 94, 96, and 98 live together. One day, the oldest brother decides to take a bath, so he fills up the tub. He puts one foot in, then stops. He yells down the stairs “Was I getting in or out of the bath?” The 96-year-old yells back, “I’m not sure, I’ll come up and see.” He takes one step up the stairs, stops, and yells “Was I going up or down the stairs?” Meanwhile, the 94-year-old was listening to his brothers while drinking coffee. He shakes his head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” He then knocks on the wooden table for good luck, and yells to his brothers, “I’ll come up and help you two as soon as I see who is knocking at the door!” (source unknown)

I was going to leave you with a profound thought, but I forgot it … oh well. Enjoy your journey!

Rev. Suzanne, a resident of SaddleBrooke, is an independent writer and speaker. She was ordained nondenominational, representing all faiths, and her focus is inclusivity. Email her at [email protected].