Forgetting is Normal
We all forget things, and with time, we’ll start relying more on lists, note apps, and social cues to recall. The good thing though? It’s natural, and it’s okay. Here’s what you should know about memory loss and how to cope with it, whether it’s you or someone you love.
What Is Memory Loss?
Memory loss is characterized as “unusual forgetfulness.” That means, remembering new events or recalling one or more memories from the past becomes more difficult or impossible. Memory loss and other cognitive declines can result from normal aging, but it can be due to other health problems or injuries such as concussion or cancer treatment. Some of these can be treatable, and there are ways you can cope.
Coping with Memory Loss
Memory loss, even simply from aging, can be frustrating and sometimes scary for a person. If you know you struggle with remembering things, take precautions:
- Try to stick to a daily routine.
- Rely on calendars, lists, post-it notes, or daily planners.
- Designate spots for important items, and if need be, label the spot.
- Don’t leave a room with water running or the stove on.
- Take things slow. If you can’t remember a word, describe it, and do so calmly. Sometimes, the panic of not immediately remembering a word can nix all efforts of recalling it.
- Use associations for recall.
- Sleep well and routinely.
- For important documents, print them out and keep a file in case you can’t find where you stored them on your computer or you accidentally deleted them.
- Practice repetition. It’s been proven that repetition can make things easier to remember. For example, when meeting someone, repeat their name out loud.
Most importantly, be patient with yourself. Nothing makes memory loss an even more upsetting predicament than distracting thoughts resulting from panicky frustration.
Memory Loss & Communication
When someone you love is dealing with more than normal memory loss, it can be hard to communicate like you used to. Understanding what they’re saying and vice versa becomes more difficult. Patience, empathy, and open communication are key here.
Be patient while they try to remember a word or if they don’t remember something you’re referring to. Empathize when they forget something because it upsets them more than you. And communicate when you think it’s getting more serious, but do so kindly and in a soothing environment.
Choose simpler words and minimize other distractions in the environment during a conversation. Aid them however you can, and when talking to them about their impairment, do so respectfully, without speaking to them like a baby. Give them time to comprehend your words and come up with a response. More than anything, show that you care.
Maintain a Healthy Brain, Especially As You Age
No matter what age you are, taking steps to keep your brain healthy can impact your cognitive performance and help with memory loss. Practicing these habits can put some control back in your hands. Not to mention, they can impact other aspects of health as well. Other options are open as well, such as Neurofeedback, a proven method to increase neuronal communication in the brain.