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Preventing Memory Loss as We Age

Everyone forgets things sometimes, but we get more upset by memory lapses as we get older. Although there are no guaranteed ways to prevent memory loss, Alzheimer's, or dementia, some activities can help to sharpen your memory.

Maintain a healthy diet and exercise program.

Eating healthy and staying active can reduce your risk of developing dementia. A study from 2011 actually showed that aerobic exercise can increase brain volume.

Give yourself cues and reminders.

Don't be afraid to set up prompts to remind you of the things you need to do. Whether it's a post-it note on the bathroom mirror or an alarm on your phone, it's easy to set up reminders. Additionally, do your best to leave important objects in visible places related to your tasks. For example, leave your keys on top of the package you keep meaning to mail out.

Say it out loud.

Similar to writing things down, saying something out loud helps you remember it. If you want to avoid forgetting what you're doing just as you walk into a room, try telling yourself out loud where you're going and why.

Get your health checked.

Many different medications and medical conditions can contribute to memory loss and forgetfulness. Most of us immediately think of Alzheimer's or dementia, but memory loss can be caused by something as simple as a vitamin deficiency or cold medication. Your physical and mental health are closely linked, so it's important to talk to your doctor about what's happening.

Keep learning.

In order to work out your brain, you need to do more than what you're already good at. In 2013, a research study found that older adults who spent time learning new skills enhanced their memory more than those who did not.

Get enough sleep.

Inadequate sleep affects the brain's ability to consolidate facts and memories. Improve your sleep by sticking to a consistent schedule, avoiding caffeine after noon, dimming the lights, and avoiding electronics before bed.

Remove distractions and stress.

Mental and emotional strain can be a huge barrier to your memory. If there's too much going on in your life for your brain to handle, it can affect your ability to process and store information. Try prioritizing instead of multitasking, taking more breaks, and asking for help when you need it.

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