You had gone to watch a movie last Saturday. You had liked it a lot. You met your friend four days later. You narrated the story to him in all detail but when it came to telling him the title of the movie you were at a loss. It took you five good minutes and some shop talk, before you could remember the name of the movie. You are 58, on the verge of retirement and afraid that you might be limping towards dementia. You are not to be blamed. You had read so many articles in the newspapers on the problems related to aging as you were preparing yourself to tackle your twilight years with relative ease.
Don’t you worry! It’s normal. It’s just age-related forgetfulness. There’s no denying that your brain undergoes physiological changes as you age and you may find it difficult to either remember old facts or learn new things as quickly as you used to when you were young. Say, you may have kept your spectacles on the newspaper rack at the end of the day when you were stacking the day’s paper there. But half an hour later when you were required to read a document of your housing society you rummaged through the drawer of your reading table where you generally kept your specs only to find those were not there. You raised a hue and cry until your granddaughter came to your rescue.
Such things happen. Instead of panicking, give yourself some quite minutes; tax your brain to remember when you last used your specs and if those were not in their usual dwelling place where you might have kept those. Take my word, you would have recovered your specs without the help of your granddaughter.
Such forgetfulness is common in old age. You should not confuse it with memory loss or the setting in of Alzheimer’s. Consider it normal even if you have addressed your grandson by your son’s name, or you have failed to recollect the name of a relative who has called on you. These are ok if you have fallen prey to such forgetfulness on a couple of occasions. However, if such incidents keep recurring and get in the way of your executing the day-to-day business in a normal way, there’s a need to consult your doctor. Timely intervention would halt the process of degeneration and as case studies say, you would become normal again.
Remember that new brain cells grow even when you are old. In fact your brain is capable of producing brain cells at any age. But as with your muscle strength, the law of use and disuse apply to your brain cells. The more you use these, the stronger they grow. Your lifestyle, daily activities and health habits, needless to say, impact your health as much as they impact your brain. Therefore, lead a healthy life and have a positive attitude. There’s no need to conclude that old age would inevitably bring with it significant memory loss. Stay physically fit and mentally active as much as you can. And don’t get bogged down by the occasional forgetfulness. Be rest assured that even if old age manages to take away from you some of the mental prowess that you had as a young man, it can never take away from you your ability to do things the way you had always done, or the wisdom and knowledge that you have acquired through your life, or your common sense that your friends and family have always been proud of, or your power to logically analyze and judge events and actions.
So don’t worry. Enjoy your age. Stay both physically and mentally active. And always consult an expert if you feel something is coming in the way of your healthy living!