What is memory? According to the definition in the dictionary, memory is the power of the brain to recall past experiences or information. Memory is the process of encoding, storing, and retrieving experiences and knowledge. It makes us who we are. Some memories might be a morning coffee enjoyed with a friend, or the time as a child when the neighbor’s dog scared you, and even remembering the smell of Granny’s apple pie baking in the oven. What happens when we can’t recall a memory? Is it a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia?
According to the National Institute on Aging, many people worry about becoming forgetful. They think forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease. But not all people with memory problems have Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer Society Canada says, when there is no underlying medical condition causing memory loss, it is known as “age-associated memory impairment,” which is considered a part of the normal aging process.
Memory lapses can stem from several other conditions, including:
• Medication side effects
• Thyroid disorders
• Vitamin B12 deficiency
General health maintenance is essential for good memory function. Learning new languages, memorizing poems, and solving mental/brain puzzles can enhance cognitive abilities. Here are a few tips to help keep the memories alive:
• Lessen activities that are passive, for example, watching TV.
• Finds ways to manage stress.
• Get plenty of sleep.
• Exercise regularly.
• Avoid alcohol.