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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Master Your Memory

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Is it a memory lapse or memory loss?


We can ALL be forgetful at times… It’s normal to forget where you put your car keys, or the names of acquaintances when you bypass them in a store, or to feel all muddled when you are short on sleep. However, there are some signs of real memory loss you can be on the lookout for – and we take a quick look at some things to know when you start worrying about your forgetfulness. There's also good news: It’s possible to preserve your memory and start implementing some best practices to help you keep your memory sharp.

In the video above, Kathy Tutt and Jenny Lobb, both OSU Extension educators, discuss what's normal about your memory, what's not so normal, and what you can do to help master your memory.

We have many free fact sheets available on Ohioline. Check out these resources for great insight on how managing and preventing stress, practicing mindfulness, and gaining insight into gratitude are a few ways to help relax your mind and maintain/improve your memory as well.

A good night's sleep plays a very important role in our overall health, and that includes memory! Learn more in this article about Sleep  An Important Part of Your Healthy Life.

It's also possible to improve your memory and slow the effects of aging with a few other key activities:

  • "fuel your brain" with a nutrient-rich diet
  • exercise your brain with word games, trying new skills, joining new social networks
  • reduce alcohol intake
  • quit smoking
  • increase physical activity
  • check in with your doctor on a regular basis
  • practice mindfulness

We all can forget things at times, but other memory changes can indicate something more. Sometimes, it really is as straightforward as a lack of sleep or extra, but temporary stress due to some challenging life circumstances. Other times, it's a glimpse that something more may be going on. If you or a loved one are forgetting HOW to use your keys, or forgetting your address/how to get home from the store, it's probably time to check in with a health care professional.

A 2018 study conducted at Ohio State showed that a strong social network could be the key to preserving memory, and social ties could help slow brain aging. This research found that mice housed in groups had better memories and healthier brains than animals that lived in pairs. Learn more in this news article.

There's always something to learn! A common misconception about the aging brain is that nothing can be done to prevent memory loss. And that's simply not true. Join Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension educator, for a virtual four-part series on how to protect and improve your memory. The series will be hosted April 25-May 17, 2022. Click here for more information.