Why do we Forget Things as we Mature?

It is not uncommon for older people to forget small details like where they put their glasses, or their favourite book. They may forget meetings and appointments.


We are all faced with the reality of memory loss when a beloved friend, parent or grandparent advances in age.

It is not uncommon for older people to forget small details like where they put their glasses, or their favourite book. They may forget meetings and appointments.

This forgetfulness can become very traumatic, as one starts to experience feelings of loss, lack of worth and incompetence. One of the main causes for memory loss as we grow older is called Age Associated Memory Impairment. This disorder appears to attack short-term memory more than older, more long-term memories, like the names of family members which seem to remain intact with AAMI sufferers.

One of the primary causes for memory loss as we grow older is dementia.

Dementia is actually a symptom and not a disease itself. It is caused by other diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, vascular disease, Pick’s disease, AIDS and other deficiencies and impairments that slow and dull the intellectual functions of the mind.

Our memory is the brain’s ability to recall and recognize impressions, events, facts and ideas. Memory is stored in the pathways of the brain through neurons, grey cells in the brain. When we experience memory loss it is due to damage to these neurons.

Increasing numbers of healthy, normal people over the age of fifty are experiencing a decline in mental faculties. Memory loss can be of two sorts, short term memory loss, which refers to events that happened minutes or even an hour ago, and long term memory loss which pertains to events that have taken place in the more distant past.

Although it is always disheartening when it occurs, memory loss can be combated. In times past, causes for memory loss were seen as the natural outcome of aging, but it has been scientifically proven that this is not true.

With proper care, a person’s memory can be kept active throughout their lifetime, even though memory may slow down and take some time to kick in. However, it is not impossible to stay alert and keep a sharp memory despite advancing age.

Slight memory loss is often seen as the precursor to something much more serious such as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a condition in which changes in the brain’s cells result in the death of a large numbers of brain cells. This causes forgetfulness, a lack of comprehension of basic tasks and problems with communicating.

Alzheimer’s patients are vulnerable to other disease as they may forget to perform basic tasks of personal hygiene and nutrition; forgetting to bath and/or eat right. The normal defence mechanisms of the mind fail during this condition.

It can be particularly bewildering since the Alzheimer’s patient may not remember whether or not he has eaten, taken medication or performed other tasks essential for continued health and vitality.

Although the causes of memory loss as we grow older are numerous, if we follow a few simple rules we can keep memory loss at bay for many years to come and enjoy a relatively sharp memory throughout our lives.

1. A healthy diet for starters is a must.

You must be careful to include nutritious and vitamin-rich foods in your diet.

2. If you are suffering from cholesterol or high blood pressure, you must be careful to reduce your intake of salt and cut down on rich and fatty foods.

3. Adopt an exercise routine, walking, light jogging and swimming are simple ways to keep the body exercised and stress free.

4. Yoga and other stress reduction programs can relieve tension, and actually eliminate toxins in your body that may bring about disease.

Scientists continue to make remarkable strides in helping sufferers with memory loss.