Everyone has memory blips from time to time -- the word that's on the very tip of your tongue or the house keys that aren't where you swear you left them. As you get older, these kinds of slip-ups may happen more often.
You don't have to resign yourself to memory loss. These simple steps can help keep your brain sharp.
Your doctor tells you it's time to say goodbye to the hospital and head back home. You're excited, of course, but also maybe a little worried about the road ahead.
You can ease your fears if you take a moment to learn what will happen on the day you get sprung.
How will my doctor decide when I can leave?
Your surgeon will look for certain signs that show you're ready to go. He'll want to know that you:
Are able to stand and walk
Have any nausea under control
Can ease your pain...
A 30-minute daily walk is one of the best things you can do for your body, including your brain.
"Physical exercise has the best evidence for preserving memory and mental function with aging," says R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center.
Some studies suggest physical activity also triggers the release of a protein called BDNF that promotes healthy nerve cells in the brain. That could give your memory a boost.
2. Go Mediterranean
A healthy diet is always good for your brain. One eating style may save your memory best. "There's good evidence for the Mediterranean-style diet," says Argye Hillis, MD, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
One study found people who closely followed this diet were nearly 20% less likely to have thinking and memory problems.
3. Engage Your Brain
"Just like physical exercise, mental exercise is good for you," says Mustafa Husain, MD, director of the geriatric psychiatry division at Duke University School of Medicine.
Play cards, join a book club, watch a football game with friends, or play a brain-training app. Any mentally challenging activity will keep your mind sharp.
4. Stay Social
Card games and book clubs also keep you socially active -- another plus for your brain. "The more social connections someone has, the better they are at preserving mental function and memory," Turner says.
Social interaction also helps memory as it helps your mood. "We see a lot more depression in people who are socially isolated," Husain says. "Depression itself can cause dementia."