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Memory Ability Declines After Age 20

What you can do to evaluate your memory and keep it strong.

Our memory abilities peak in our twenties and go downhill from there.

It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?

In the following days, weeks, and months, this blog will attempt to address every aspect of this statement. Some of the topics that we will cover include:

Learning about normal memory, such as:

  • Which memory errors can happen to anyone of any age?
  • How does memory change in normal aging?
  • Why did memory evolve?

Learning which changes in memory are not normal, including:

  • How does normal aging differ from brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s?
  • How is memory is affected by other conditions such as attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Lyme disease, and traumatic brain injury?
  • How is memory affected by depression, anxiety, and PTSD?

Determining if you should go to your doctor for a memory evaluation, as well as:

  • What your doctor should do to evaluate your memory.
  • Which common medications have side effects that impair memory?
  • When should you seek an evaluation with a memory specialist?

Learning about common conditions that may cause memory loss, answering questions such as:

  • Which vitamin deficiencies can cause memory loss?
  • What medical diseases commonly affect the memory?
  • Is it true that menopause can cause memory problems?
  • Can poor sleep cause memory problems?
  • Do alcohol and illegal drugs cause memory problems?

Understanding common terms used to describe memory problems, such as:

Learning about disorders that cause memory loss, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Learning about memory medications, such as:

  • How the current medications to treat memory loss work.
  • What new medications are being developed to treat memory loss?

Learning the benefits of activities that can aid memory and decrease stress, such as:

Modifying your lifestyle, including issues such as:

  • What foods should you eat or avoid to help your memory?
  • Does coconut oil help? Should one avoid eating grains? Are blueberries good for you?
  • Should you drink a glass of red wine daily or abstain from alcohol?
  • What’s the best beverage: soda, diet soda, juice, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, seltzer water, tap water?
  • What type of physical exercise should you do?
  • What are the benefits of exercise to thinking, memory, and the brain?

Strengthening your memory, such as:

  • Can computerized brain-training games improve your memory?
  • What about doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku?
  • Are social activities important?
  • What strategies can I use to improve my memory?
  • Which memory aids can be helpful?

Making changes in your life if you have memory issues, such as:

  • Managing money and investing
  • Driving
  • Home and hobbies
  • Guns and power tools
  • Employment

Helping someone in your life who has dementia, addressing issues such as:

  • Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
  • Agitation
  • Incontinence
  • Wandering
  • Redirection

Taking charge of your memory, including:

  • Participating in research
  • Volunteering with advocacy and support organizations.

We’ll also comment on some of the new articles related to memory that are being published almost daily.

Lastly, we want to answer your questions, so please post questions and issues that you are concerned about. We will attempt to address them all.


Salthouse, T.A. (2009) Neurobiol Aging. 30(4): 507–514.

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