7 Surefire Ways to Combat Forgetfulness

woman painting
May 30th, 2014

Isn’t it interesting that we associate forgetfulness with seniors, even though it happens to us all? Many of us simply won’t admit it when we forget something. Do you ever misplace things or walk into a room and forget why you’re there? It happens to everyone. Fortunately, this type of “brain fog” is usually defined as normal age-related behavior and is not usually an indicator of dementia, according to the nonprofit HelpGuide.

The jury’s still out on whether memory loss is inevitable as we age. Researchers at the University of Florida reflect today’s consensus: “In most people, age-related memory troubles emerge in midlife and memory continues to weaken with advancing age. However, memory decline is not an inevitable consequence of aging.” Translation: Prepare for the worst and expect the best.

Here are some tips to help you keep your mind sharp and combat forgetfulness.

1. Make a List

When our attention constantly shifts its focus through multitasking, the memory suffers, according to a study reported on by the New York Times. List-making not only helps you remember what needs to get done and when, but it also helps you prioritize tasks. Low-tech and old-fashioned? Maybe, but lists get the job done.

2. Sticky Notes

Sticky notes can help you combat forgetfulness “in context.” Place them all over the house where you need to remember things. If you need to take a pill with meals, stick a note on the cupboard door that holds your plates. To remember to take something with you as you leave the house, slap a reminder on the door.

3. Smartphone Apps

You’ll find plenty of helpful smartphone apps to combat forgetfulness and automate tasks for you. The Street reviews some great Android apps for this purpose, and Gizmodo has a similar article covering iPhone apps.

4. Brain Games

The AARP says, “[You can] have fun working your memory and problem-solving and language skills” with their online brain games. It’s important to have fun while you keep your brain nimble.

5. Socialize

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss.” What better excuse to get together with others? If friends and family are busy,volunteer your time to help others.

6. De-stress

Speaking of stress, focusing on what you enjoy is a natural stress reducer. Whether it’s playing with your pet, watching funny YouTube videos, doing water aerobics, ballroom dancing, or meditating, make time for activities you enjoy.

7. Learn Something New

Harvard Medical School says that taking up a hobby or learning a new skill can help combat forgetfulness. Do all the things you longed to do when you were busy working and/or raising a family — learn a new language, delve into your genealogy, learn sign language, or turn your family history and/or family recipes into a book and publish it free at CreateSpace. You can be sure it would make a unique gift for the family.

These tips will help you thwart forgetfulness rather than dwelling on it, and the best part is that most of them encourage you to “play” and have fun. When you’re working to strengthen your memory, you’re not worrying about it. Reclaim that wasted energy and start spending time with people and on activities that bring happiness and laughter into your life. You’ll be glad you did.