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How Age and Physical Health affect Memory and Mental Health

"I'm getting old" is a common remark made by individuals who have difficulty remembering their own telephone numbers, their spouse's birthday or other pieces of information. There are certain changes that do occur relative to age. However, generally your memory, your ability to recall the brain's stored information, is not as affected by age as we believe.

On the other hand, your ability to learn can be affected indirectly by age. However, you can help compensate for this by having knowledge of certain aging factors. For example, if your vision is not as good as it once was or your hearing is not as sharp as it used to be, your ability to learn can be affected. This is especially true when we consider that most of us are visual or auditory learners. Our brain is still functional. Our memory will still recall. It's our learning mechanisms -- sight and hearing -- that have let us down. Naturally, you can compensate for these physical weaknesses by wearing glasses and/or hearing aids.

Our mental health is often directly related to our physical health. Exercise, rest and a proper diet are as important at age 72 as they were at age 7. Generally, if we feel good physically, we feel good mentally.

Retention (memory) for an older person is as good as it is for younger individuals, provided the subject matter is relevant and interesting. Young or old learners will not easily remember dull, boring information. The problem faced by the older person is that they have seen it, done it, experienced it. Accordingly, what others perceive as new and exciting might seem old and monotonous for a senior citizen, who will therefore find it more difficult to retain and recall the same information.