Each person knows the sensation of walking into a room and then forgetting why you entered in the first place. Wondering how to handle that senior moment when your memory fails you?
It’s normal to forget things as you get older. However, when these senior moments start impacting your day-to-day life, it can be frustrating and embarrassing.
Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can use to help improve your memory and lessen the impact of these forgetful moments. The tips below provide solutions.
What to Do During that Senior Moment When Your Memory Fails You
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.
While we all age and experience gaps in our memory, everyone feels senior moments in different ways.
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. 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? That’s called a “senior moment.”
It 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 senior 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 are focused on a singular prioritized task, you will be more likely to remember it.
- Try not to multi-task (when we try to do too many things at once, our brains start getting confused about what we’re supposed to be paying attention to). Try focusing on just one thing at a time—even if it means taking a bit longer than usual. 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.
2. Use Lists, Timers, and Calendars
Use organization tools such as lists, timers, and calendars to help your memory.
- 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
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 find that you 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 so that you can 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.
If you’re not already exercising regularly—or at all—start small by doing simple yoga moves or taking a walk around the block every day. Before long, you’ll be going for long walks and perhaps even participating in group fitness classes near your home or workplace.
Eating well is key 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 (like fruits and vegetables) can help reduce inflammation in the brain which reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia down the line as well.
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 the kinds of 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 any instructions at all.
These aren’t the only studies that show how important 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 within 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 in the Atlantic, happiness will tend 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. As 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’re going to 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 that they’ve already made some achievements, reached some goals, and can more easily 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 certain physiological changes that can lead to increased 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 healthy eating.
The Secret Behind Why People Over 50 Are More Likely To Be Happier And Healthier
When you’re young, you have a lot of energy and you’re constantly exploring new things. But as you get older, you start to focus on the things that really 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 that 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 some 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.
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.
If you experience regular senior moments, or if you’re just 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.
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 also become more common to develop neurodegenerative diseases that impact mental agility, including memory.
Consult regularly with your own doctor to be certain you have the medical support you need to have the fewest senior moments – and best cognition – possible.
Resources about the Cause and Alleviation of the Senior Moment:
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/
Senior Moment 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/
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