While the occasional memory lapse is never a cause of concern, many people, especially elders, struggle with more severe types of memory loss, like that related to dementia. The NHS has some guidance for coping with these situations, which can be stressful for many people. We go over them in this article.
If you are experiencing memory loss or any other issues related to mental health, reach out to your doctor or therapist to address any concerns. This information does not constitute medical advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for professional help.
As the NHS explains, there is no guarantee that you won’t suffer from some form of dementia in the future. Age and medical history are considered to be risk factors, but there are also other aspects that could determine your chances to suffer from it. These include diet, exercise and lifestyle, three aspects we do have some leeway with.
Some tips provided by the NHS to help you with memory loss are:
Use to-do lists as a reference: many people find that chores and tasks become more manageable when listing them.
Break difficult of complex tasks into small chunks to get through them one line at a time
Go for one thing at a time rather than trying to do many at once, which can be harder and leave you confused.
Try to arrange your day so you can follow structured routines and don’t have to spend much time remembering what’s next.
Be patient and take your time
Additionally, there are also some tips to aid your memory. They are as simple as they are handy, like wearing a watch, hanging a calendar or reading the paper so you can keep track of time.
Another habit that can be helpful is keeping a diary to reflex on your day and regularly find time to go over your pending tasks.
To get in contact with your doctor or loved ones, you can try keeping a notepad by the phone so you can easily read the numbers when you need them. If you own a mobile phone, try to make the numbers as accessible as possible, perhaps asking a relative to do it for you.
Follow a balanced diet that consists of a variety of different foods, with plenty of fruits and vegetables and a limited quantity of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. For protein, go for oily fish like sardines rather than red meat.
Eat less salt
The NHS claims too much salt consumption can contribute to the development of dementia. When you think about how much salt you take, consider not only how much you add to your meals yourself, but also the salt that’s included in most foods. You can control this by looking at the nutrition labels. Less than 0,3 grams of salt per 100g means that the product is low salt, whereas more than 1,5g in that same proportion means you’re holding a product high in salt.
The NHS recommends staying active and exercising in some way for 30 minutes at least five times a week. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join the gym: any form of light activity will do, like walking, dancing or even gardening.
Be gentle to yourself
There’s no shame in being forgetful as a result of aging. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Forgetting something in some social contexts can be embarrassing, but sometimes the best strategy is to focus on another thing so it can come to mind.
If you are concerned with your memory loss, aside from talking to your doctor, you can reach out to your friends and family. Look for support from people around you.