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How to Banish Brain Fog and Avoid a Senior Moment

The expressions “brain fog” and “senior moment” commonly describe brief memory lapses. These lapses happen to everyone sometimes, regardless of health or age.

Strictly speaking, senior moment and brain fog are not medical terms, but more colloquial expressions people often use to describe sudden lapses in concentration or forgetfulness:

  • Ever had the sensation of walking into a room and then forgetting why you entered in the first place?
  • Ever been in a conversation with a friend and about to mention the name of a book or a Hollywood actor you admire, but suddenly the name of the book or actor slips your mind?

Most people have had bouts of brain fog like this. When you’re younger, it’s no big deal. But as you get older, it can happen with more frequency and become irksome.

Difference Between Brain Fog and a Senior Moment

Brain fog is a common problem among adults. It occurs when your brain is unable to process information quickly enough. This causes problems with memory, attention, and thinking skills.

A senior moment is simply an episode of brain fog that happens to a more mature adult. There is no official difference between brain fog and a senior moment.

We’ve all been there before—you know, when we forget where we put our wallet or why we left the stove on. It happens to everyone eventually.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of memory loss. But there are ways to help you remember what matters most.

How to Be Brilliant

If you’re wondering how to handle brain fog – or how to solve that senior moment when your memory temporarily falters – you’ll be glad to know there are solutions. A few tricks can be used to help improve your memory and lessen the impact of forgetful moments.

What follows are proven techniques for improving your brain health so that your memory, cognition, and mind power continue to improve as you age.

man with healthy brain avoiding brain fog and senior moment

Though it’s normal to forget things as you get older, when these senior moments or episodes of brain fog start influencing your day-to-day life, it can be unpleasant.

What makes the senior moment and brain fog episode so frustrating is that you often feel like the memory is almost within grasp!

The good news is that just because you have brain fog or are having a senior moment does not mean you have the onset of dementia.

Profound cognitive dysfunction requires the help of a medical doctor. Dementia is when you forget many things often – sometimes due to a disease such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s – to the point that you can no longer function normally. The meaning, symptoms, and causes of cognitive dysfunction are revealed lower within this article.

But brain fog and senior moments are when you forget something tiny, such as the original purpose you walked into your living room, or the day’s date.

What to Do When Memory Fails

Do you have difficulty remembering where you put your favorite pen? Or a good joke someone told you? What about that email you need to reply to urgently? If so, then you are not alone. You are simply having brain fog, or – what’s colloquially known as – a senior moment.

While we all age and experience gaps in our memory, everyone feels a senior moment differently.

However, memory loss doesn’t have to be a barrier to accomplishing your goals and enjoying life.

Physicians and neuroscientists have discovered ways to help improve memory loss. Here are six of them.

1. Moment of Brain Fog? Mentally reconnect to Your Immediate Surroundings

Do you know those moments when you can’t remember where you put your keys? Or what time you’re supposed to have lunch with your best friend? This brain fog or senior moment happens to everyone, and it’s totally normal. But there are things you can do to keep your mind active and engaged.

To handle a confused or forgetful moment, bring your awareness back to your immediate environment:

  • Become highly aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to what you’re doing and where you’re going.
  • If you’re focused on a singular prioritized task, you’ll be more likely to remember it.
  • Try not to multitask. When we try to do too many things at once, our brains start getting confused about where we’re supposed to direct our attention. Try focusing on just one thing at a time – even if it takes a bit longer. You’ll get more done, and have a better memory of what happened when it’s all over.
  • Take time out for yourself every day. Your brain needs time off just as much as your body does. Don’t forget that even though our minds are always working hard (even when we sleep), they still need time away from thinking about everything else that goes on in life. Give yourself some downtime every day.
mature couple happily avoiding brain fog

2. Use Lists, Timers, and Calendars to Help Reduce Brain Fog Moments

Use organization tools such as lists, timers, and calendars to help your memory.

For example:

  • if you’re having trouble remembering where you put your keys, try writing down a list of likely places where they might be.
  • Also, designate specific places where things are housed. A bowl that is just for keys, for instance.
  • Use your phone to take pictures of items when you want to remember their location.
  • If you’re having trouble keeping track of time, set the alarm or timer on your phone or computer.

3. Learn Brand New Things to Reduce Chances of Having a Senior Moment

Learning new things keeps your brain cells healthy and functioning.

There are educational ways to keep your mind sharp and active. Try playing games like chess or checkers; learn new skills like knitting or woodworking; take classes at the local community center; read books on subjects that interest you, or use an app to learn how to speak and write the Spanish language.

4. Follow the Fundamental Health Protocols for Avoiding Brain Fog

Your brain is a part of your body and so responds positively when you are consistently following the fundamental health protocols of sleep hygiene, strategic exercise, and an anti-inflammatory diet.

You may need less sleep as you get older, but if you’re having trouble staying awake during the day, it might be time to start making some changes to get more rest. Make your bedroom more sleep-friendly, avoid stimulants, and ask your doctor about supplementing with a very low dosage of melatonin before bedtime.

healthy mature woman easily avoiding brain fog

It’s important to stay active as you age. Not only will physical exercise help with memory problems, but it will also keep your heart healthy and improve your mood.

If you’re not already exercising regularly—or at all—start small by doing simple yoga moves or taking a walk around the block daily. Before long, you’ll be going for long walks and perhaps even participating in group fitness classes near your home or workplace.

Brain Food and Brain Vitamins

Eating well is vital for good health at any age, but it’s especially important when considering memory loss issues later on down the road.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in the brain, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia down the line.

Brain foods include:

  • vegetables (many varieties from many colors)
  • beans
  • beets
  • carrots
  • almond, pecan, walnut, and brazil nuts
  • eggs and fish (in moderation)
  • and olive oil.

The brain vitamins within these foods include E, C, the B’s, Omega-3, and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid, which – since it can pass easily into the brain – probably helps protect the brain and nerve tissue from free-radical damage).

It’s also crucial that low-quality, inflammatory foods are mostly eliminated from the diet – refined sugar, fried foods, and excessive wheat.

Dr. Ali Meza Harry, a principal investigator at the Center for the Human Brain, was able to establish through recent experimental research a direct link between inflammation and brain fog.

In particular, alertness and attention span can be impacted negatively.

Inflammation can be thought of as a friend – lovely to have around once in a while, but quite annoying if it decides to be overbearing:

  • Inflammation is what helps you fight off an infection. It’s what isolates particular tissue while it’s healing.
  • On the other hand, if inflammation is chronic, and it’s always there, it has a host of consequences in terms of your brain health.

An anti-inflammatory diet can help remedy this.

5. Bond with Your Community

Research has established a strong link between loneliness and cognitive decline.

However, it’s not just about getting out of the house and meeting people. The key is to forge intimate connections with others that will meet your relational needs.

A study conducted at UCLA found that people who had low social integration were more likely to experience cognitive decline than those who had high social integration.

While this is not surprising – lonely people tend to be less healthy overall – researchers were surprised by how quickly the results showed up on scans of participants’ brains. After just five years, those with low social integration had lost brain volume, equivalent to an additional 6.5 years of aging.

It may be worthwhile to make an increased effort toward building meaningful connections with others.

6. Become a More Positive Thinker to Reduce Chances of Having a Senior Moment

Studies show that positive emotions can help protect against memory lapses in senior moments.

In one research experiment, researchers asked people to remember a list of words over a period of time. Some were asked to recall the words with a positive memory attached (such as “the time I got married”), and others were asked to recall the words with a negative memory attached (such as “the time I got divorced”). Afterward, everyone was tested for their ability to remember the words. The group who had positive memories remembered more of them than those who had negative ones.

  • Another study found that older adults who had positive attitudes about aging were better able to remember things than those who had negative attitudes about aging.
  • In a study by researchers at the University of California San Diego, participants who were asked to think about a positive memory before taking a memory test performed better than those who were asked to think about a negative memory or those who did not receive instructions at all.

These aren’t the only studies that show how critical positive emotions are for brain health in older age; many other studies have also shown that feelings like happiness, excitement, and love help protect against memory lapses in senior moments.

Why People Over 50 Are Likely to Be Happier

The good news about how positive thinking can alleviate the frequency of the senior moment is that people over 50 are more likely to be happier than any other age group.

Older adults are often stereotyped as being unhappy, unhealthy, and disconnected; however, recent research shows that this is not always the case.

Yes, people over the age of 50 are generally considered to be in the later stages of their lives, yet in many ways, this is also when they are at their happiest and healthiest.

Not only have mature adults acquired a wealth of experience and wisdom that come with age, but they also typically have more time and autonomy to focus on themselves.

Their children are no longer toddlers, and they now have time to reflect on their past experiences and mistakes:

  • With longer life experience can also come a better appreciation for existence in general.
  • Older adults often have a stronger sense of self-identity than younger adults. They know and accept who they are.
  • As people age, they typically become more content with themselves and less focused on material possessions, which leads to a greater sense of well-being.
  • With time, people get gradually better at managing their own stress. They’ve learned what self-soothing techniques work best for their unique disposition.
  • People over 50 generally have had more time to develop relationships, careers, and hobbies.

A General Interpretation About Why People Over 50 Are More Likely To Be Happier And Healthier

According to research compiled by Arthur C. Brooks of The Atlantic, happiness tends to lessen in younger adults. After age 50, however, it climbs back up again into the mid-60s.

Seniors are generally split into two categories: those getting much happier, and those getting much unhappier.

When you become an elderly person, you will begin to exponentially reap the effects of your previous mental habits. If you’ve been working on your positive thinking, you’ll get happiness multiplied. If you’ve been habitually negative, you will feel the full impact of that.

Positive, mature adults are potentially less likely to experience the stress and anxiety that can come from feeling like they’re not living up to their full potential. With more self-awareness and self-acceptance, they know they’ve already made some achievements, reached some goals, and can more readily accept that no one gets it all done and hits every target. This can lead to fuller feelings of satisfaction.

Aging tends to bring about specific physiological changes that can increase well-being. These changes include a decrease in stress hormones, an increase in social support networks, and improved sleep quality. Lastly, as people get older, they often become more comfortable in their own skin, and this can lead to a more positive outlook.

Finally, people over 50 tend to be a bit more physically active and have a slightly healthier daily lifestyle than those in younger age groups. This is due to a combination of factors, including increased disposable income, improved access to health care, and greater awareness of the importance of working out and eating healthy.

The Secret Behind Why People Over 50 Are More Likely To Be Happier

When you’re young, you have a lot of energy, and you’re constantly exploring new things. But as you get older, you focus on the things that matter, and you learn to appreciate life more.

If you’ve adopted a positive mindset, you’ll become more selective with the content you consume, which means you’re less likely to expose yourself to negative influences.

Older adults tend to have more stable relationships and a stronger belief in their own resilience. They know that if things go wrong, it might be unpleasant, but from a broader perspective, it will ultimately be okay. Death is somehow less scary if your life has felt well-lived.

All of these various factors work together synergistically to make people over the age of 50 among the most contented and healthy members of society.

Older adults tend to have firmer routines than younger individuals, resulting in better sleep, nutrition, and exercise regimens.

So if you’re looking for extra happiness in your life, consider looking forward to your golden years. Yes, you will have the occasional senior moment and memory lapse, but senior moments are just a part of life.

Cognitive Dysfunction: When to Seek Out a Doctor’s Help

The average length of the human lifespan has increased, and that’s a good thing.

However, keep in mind that as lifespan has become longer, it has become more common to develop neurodegenerative diseases that impact mental agility, including memory.

Memory lapses are a normal part of the aging process, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them. There are plenty of things you can do to help improve your memory and keep your mind sharp.

Consult regularly with your doctor to be sure you have the medical support you need to have the fewest episodes of brain fog – and the best cognition – possible.

A doctor’s visit is encouraged when brain episodes appear more frequently.

If brain fog or a senior moment is regularly causing a disturbance in one’s daily life, impairing daily activities, or affecting professional work, then that is when one needs to consult a doctor immediately.

Here are some areas that your doctor might try to rule out as causes for cognitive dysfunction:

  • iron deficiencies (low hemoglobin anemia);
  • medication side effects;
  • abnormal hormonal function (poor thyroid performance or issues with the ratio of testosterone to estrogen);
  • chronic kidney disease;
  • liver issues,
  • viral infections (tuberculosis, etc.);
  • post-COVID-19 recovery;
  • low blood glucose;
  • low blood sodium (not uncommon in diabetics or hypertensive);
  • psychiatric conditions;
  • vitamin or mineral deficiencies (and dehydration);
  • brain shrinkage from excessive smoking or alcohol consumption;
  • dementia (such as from Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s);
  • brain stroke;
  • brain tumor (very rare).

You’re not alone if you have trouble remembering things.

If you experience brain fog regularly and are looking for ways to boost your brainpower, try some of these tips today. And don’t forget to share them with your friends and family – they may need them too.

Resources about the Cause and Alleviation of Brain Fog:

Cognitive Health and Older Adults – https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cognitive-health-and-older-adults

Remembering the Details: Effects of Emotion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676782/

Brain Fog or Something Worse? Yes/No Test May Tell https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20120203/simple-yes-no-test-may-separate-senior-moment-from-early-alzheimers

Diet and Exercise and Sleep https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/diet-exercise-sleep

Good Genes Are Nice, But Joy Is Better – The Harvard Gazette – https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/

Nutrients for Improved Cognition – https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a35981778/vitamins-for-brain-health/

Why Older People Managed to Stay Happier Through the Pandemic –https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/12/health/covid-pandemic-happiness-age.html?auth=link-dismiss-google1tap