I’ve just finished writing a magazine story about the effects of aging on memory. Here’s what Georgia Tech researcher Anderson Smith has to say about the fear of forgetfulness, adapting to change, and how exercise, healthy eating, and spiritual nourishment can improve memory, long after middle age.
Everyone is unique but when it comes to memory, certain things may help us all, says Anderson Smith, a researcher on cognitive aging.
•Aerobic exercise. “Aerobic exercise makes you healthier in the brain, and the brain is an organ of the body. The healthier you are, the better you will be. If you can get out every day or do something that keeps you active and healthier, then do it.”
•Have Faith. “Faith can guide you and keep you calm. I think happiness and contentment are important to healthy aging. What does faith give you but contentment? For many people it reduces anxiety.”
•Avoid Worry. “Be adaptable. Be flexible. Worry about the things you can do something about it.”
•Keep Your Mind Active. “Use it or lose it—there’s some evidence for that. You can do crossword puzzles, but I read mystery novels.”
•Consider Service Work. “I do ministry to older adults, and it makes me happy.”
•Accept Forgetfulness. “You’re just developing the normal things that happen with memory. I write things down. Keep the umbrella by the door.”
•Adapt to Change. “Successful aging is the ability to adapt.”
“Write what’s in your heart.”