Not being able to run as fast or lift as much weight as you used to is an acceptable form of aging. But when memory starts to go? There’s little that’s more frustrating.
But it happens. Just like your muscles have slowed down with age, so has your brain. Age can cause your brain to process, store, and recall information more slowly.
You may also have greater distractions: the pain in your back, for example, or the pills you use to treat it, can influence focus and memory recall.
Age also means you’ve learned a lot more. All of your experience adds up to more memories. The information you need to remember daily, or habits you’ve formed, are much easier to recall than old memories or random events that may arise.
Slower learning, processing, storing, and retrieving speeds are likely not related to cognitive diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s probable that these challenges are caused by diminished attention.
If you can still make sense of information, argue a point, or display consistent judgment, your brain is still demonstrating strong executive function.
The distraction can come from several areas. Pain or pain treatment can be one. Poor sleep could be another. Perhaps some issues in your life are occupying your attention. Whatever it is, distractions exist that can influence memory.
To get a handle on it, there are different things you can try. One is to slow down and try to take things as they come. You can also begin an exercise regime to help improve blood flow to the brain’s areas with an essential role in memory.
Eating more antioxidant-rich foods may also help enhance blood flow and protect memory. And as always, finding ways to improve sleep hygiene may help.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Andre is a journalist for BelMarraHealth, which first published this article.