The e-mail I received caused me to pause. It was not the content. It was the tag line which read: “Let’s make today count.” Sounded good to me.
But how could I possibly make a day count when I had so much on my mind? So many things to take care of? So many things to worry about?
Then I came across an interesting article on the Internet (“Chronic worry tied to memory problems” by Miranda Hitti, on WebMD.com). I wouldn’t say the article worried me, but it sure caused me concern.
“People who often feel negative emotions may be more likely to develop memory problems as they age, according to a new study,” Hitti wrote.
That article could have been speaking to me. I am of mature age. I have forgotten and lost a few things lately.
I lost a client’s file for a day, and after searching all over, I found it safely where I had placed it.
Then, my checkbook disappeared for a week. When I found it, I was so glad I had also placed it in a safe location.
Learning my new phone number has been extremely hard for me.
And come to think of it, I often go into a room and forget why I went there.
Could it be I need to see my doctor?
Before going to that extreme, I headed for the Internet — where you can find literally anything you want. Can you imagine how exuberant I was when I found an article on Helpguide.org, authored by Melinda Smith, Lawrence Robinson and Robert Segal, that assisted me in understanding memory loss a little better?
The article says memory loss is not an inevitable part of the aging process. Perhaps I just needed to refocus and try to stop micromanaging and worrying.
The article lists the types of memory lapses that are normal among older adults and are not considered aging signs:
- Forgetting where you left things.
- Occasionally forgetting an appointment.
- Having trouble remembering what you’ve just read.
- Walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.
- Becoming easily distracted.
- Not quite being able to retrieve information on top of your tongue.
The article also mentions symptoms that may indicate dementia and reasons to seek medical help.
- Difficulty performing simple tasks, such as paying bills or dressing.
- Getting lost or disoriented, even in familiar places.
- Frequently forgetting words, or misusing or garbling them.
- Having trouble making choices.
Of course, if you or a loved one have symptoms of dementia, it is extremely important to see a doctor for evaluation.
There is good news for anyone who is experiencing memory loss.
The article suggests you can do the following to contribute to a healthy memory:
- Exercise regularly.
- Stay social.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Manage stress.
- Get plenty of sleep.
As for worrying, well, I can’t help you there. I still worry, but am working on it. Making today count as well as tomorrow is important to me. After all, most of the things I worry about are too big for me to handle anyway.
PAM RAINEY is a longtime Denton resident and a real estate agent who has helped many seniors make decisions about living arrangements. You can reach her with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 940-367-1188.