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(Warding off ACTUAL Age-Related Memory Loss)




 In my last ABOUT YOUR MEMORY column (Is There Really Such A Thing As A “Senior Moment?”) I suggested you erase the phrase “I’m having a Senior Moment ” from your vernacular as it sends a very debilitating and negative message to your psyche, and your memory does not have to atrophy with age. And I promised, if you would do that, I would cover in this column just what can be done to ward off actual age-related memory loss.

Your maturity monogamously messing up your memory is a monomaniacal myth. Don’t let an old fallacy that doesn’t hold water anymore drown you!

If you are physically healthy (eating right/ getting enough rest and exercise)… If your blood is still circulating… If you’re not suffering from any disease affecting your brain… then… your memory should continue to work for you no-matter what your age.

Even at 100, (if you’re still breathing) the brain will continue to sprout new cells. And the mind is definitely a connecting machine. A stimulated brain at every age will continue to make connections between these cells. The 80 year old who is focused (and has learned the techniques of activating his memory…{See my ‘COLLECT/CONNECT/RECOLLECT’ column in these Malibu Chronicle pages}… will very often do better with remembering than the 18 year old. This is because his 80 years of experiences give him far more readily available connections.


Every time you have a bout of forgetfulness, you’re not on the path to Alzheimer’s. Don’t even go there.

Everyone, no-matter what age or occupation, educated or not, is forgetful from time to time.

Who hasn’t lost his train of thought or even gotten on the wrong train? Who hasn’t forgotten the name of someone they just met, or where the car was parked? (Including this author of memory books. My daughter, Espree, takes great delight in introducing me as “My mother, the forgetterer,” whenever this occurs.)

Do you remember when you were school age and doing your homework?

You went to the kitchen for a glass of milk- stuck your head in the refrigerator- and wondered what you were looking for? Did you worry at that time you were on your way to Alzheimer’s?

I doubt it.

We’ve all made a trip or two down that ‘what am I doing here?‘ road.


…  it’s a very minute number of us who will end up on The Dementia Daybed.

Those bouts of forgetfulness are just normal. They’re SOP for the average adult whose multi-tasking, frantically scheduled life, simply calls for remembering too much. And if you’re feeling under the weather, physically or emotionally, it doesn’t make it any easier. It only compounds the situation. Not only is a bout of forgetfulness from T to T normal, it would be abnormal if you never had one.

Is There Something I Can Do…

 … to ward off ACTUAL age related memory loss?


I call it a path to ‘Rememberizing’’.

For starters, one must be aware of how memory happens inside the brain.

So, understanding the workings of your instrument is a first step.

And it starts with something called a synapse. Ever heard of a synapse?

Well now’s the time to hit the ‘save’ key and start listening.

The brain has a network of interconnecting cells (neurons) that communicate with each other. The point of communication between these cells is called a synapse. We have to keep these synapses strong, because, among their many functions, they hold the keys to memory and learning. They help chemicals called neurotransmitters to spread information throughout the brain’s network.

Keep Your Mind Exercised.

By keeping your mind exercised you will be giving your brain the stimulation it needs to form new patterns of connectivity, strengthen your synapses and avoid memory decline. The more you use your ‘thinking cap’ the more you’ll get your brain cells to communicate with each other. This forges creation of new cells. Just like communication between couples in a marriage is necessary to keep the marriage strong, the same can be said for your matrimonial brain cells. Don’t let them stop communicating with each other. The stoppage will make it harder for the brain to process thoughts, retain short-term memory, and create new cells.

Avoid Deterioration.

Mental performance is totally reliant on the brain’s network of synapses.

Deterioration or loss of synapses can result in lost memory and affect brain functioning. This deterioration brings on the disorders of aging. But if you keep your synapses strong and growing you can counter this deterioration.

Remember These Ways To Protect Your Synapses:

  1.  a.     Stay healthy by eating right with a diet rich in antioxidants.
  2. b.    Get lots of sleep.
  3. c.      Exercise and get oxygen to your brain.
  4. d.    Stimulate your brain with new experiences.
  5. e.      Reduce stress.
  6. f.      Challenge yourself intellectually. (Catch a class;  solve a puzzle;  read a book;  play some bridge…okmake it mahjong;  create mnemonics.)

And if you’re seriously concerned, go the whole nine yards……………….

Take up the violin!

And you’ll be Rememberizing.


The Lady On The Mountain

[Hermine Hilton, one of America’s most popular speakers, is the author of several books on memory including “The Executive Memory Guide” (Simon&Schuster) and her latest book titled “Fuhhgeddaboutit!”(How To Stop Worrying About Your Memory). You may have heard her on Radio or seen her on Television with David Letterman; Charlie Rose; Matt Lauer; Bryant Gumbel or a host of others. She is the creator of Sonik Memory and the memory motivator for the Fortune Five Hundred companies from Nordstrom to NASA, and is known internationally from the Netherlands to Nigeria, Turkey to Thailand, Italy to Israel, and almost all other points on the planet.

(She is also known as ‘The Lady On The Mountain’ to those of you in Malibu who drive Corral Canyon.)]

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