Memory is a tricky thing.
Everyone experiences forgetfulness throughout their lives. We might repeat things, forget to mail that pesky letter or slip up on our bills. It happens.
Memory is not a perfect thing and certain memory problems are common and happen to everyone.
An article published by Harvard Medical School identifies seven different types of common memory slip ups. Absentmindedness is at the top of the list, and something we experience many times over the course of our lives.
This happens when you information is coming in, but your thoughts are preoccupied elsewhere, causing a lack of focus and an inability to remember the incoming material.
Another frequent memory blip is blocking. If you’ve ever been talking to someone and couldn’t quite think of the right word, you’ve experienced this form of forgetfulness. This “tip of the tongue” experience is often frustrating. You know that you know the word but you can’t seem to retrieve it.
Memory blocks become more frequent with age, but can happen at any age.
Some people are more “forgetful” than others, such as those that suffer with learning or neurological disabilities.
In these cases, short-term memory loss can be a frequent and annoying problem in their everyday lives.
Fortunately, people that struggle with short-term memory problems can use tools to help them keep track of tasks. Using a planner or phone app to record and track responsibilities can be a way to compensate.
If you suffer from attention related memory problems, you can also take medications to help with focus.
The most serious form of memory problems are related to neurological disorders that cause dementia. Dementia, which is an overall decline in thinking and cognition most commonly afflicts the older population.
The term encompasses a wide scope of conditions, the most widely known being alzheimer's disease.
The name alone can often strike fear in people, as it should. According to the alzheimer’s association, the disease accounts for 60 - 80% of dementia cases. The second most common cause is vascular dementia.
In both cases, it is likely to start out slowly and progressively get worse. Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure or treatment for these diseases, although there are medications that can ease the symptoms.
An important factor for preventing or slowing down the progression of any memory related issues is to live a healthy lifestyle. Poor diet and exercise can increase the likelihood of experiencing memory problems over time.
Brain activities and exercises such as crosswords can also slow the decline as well as sharpen the mind.
Although memory problems can be a nuisance it is usually nothing to worry about. And next time you forget that appointment or name, just laugh it off and remember we’ve all been there.