More than two-thirds of people over the age of 65 say they have trouble remembering details and learning new things. Many felt that getting old meant getting “senile” and forgetting was just a natural part of that. Are you having problems remembering things? Are you are afraid you may be developing Alzheimer’s or are losing your mind? Having a poor memory does not always mean you are going to develop dementia. Your brain may simply be malnourished.

I would like to tell you about the mother of a friend of mine, Esther. She was an amazing woman who had come a long way, with only a high school diploma. She had risen from the bottom rung of the typing pool to the head of Selective Service for the northern part of the State of Indiana. After Selective Service (the draft) was eliminated she took a job in another federal agency, but soon found she was requiring her to take some classes in order to keep her job. She would constantly say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” She made herself believe she couldn’t learn anymore, that she was too old, so she quit her job and  moved to Albuquerque to be with her sister.

After her move she put together some aerobic exercise routines and convinced the Department of Senior Affairs for the City of Albuquerque that she could teach seniors exercises and and became the first, and only, senior citizen employed by the city. She traveled to all the city’s eight centers with her music box and her routines which were a bit departure from her usual Lawrence Welk-type music, consisted of country and boot-scooting music. They were creative and fun, and succeeded in getting the seniors up and moving. That old dog taught herself new tricks, and inspired young and old alike with her energy and ingenuity until her death at 92.Â

Memory and learning are not lost when we get older. It is true that as we get older our brains, like other parts of our body, lose some of its connections and elasticity. It could be that our malnourished brains are simply starved for oxygen and the right nutrients. Our brains actually use up a large percentage of the oxygen we take in. If the flow of blood is constricted to our brain, through plaque build up in the arteries, the brain received less oxygen in order for the brain cells to make their connections. When the circulation is sluggish, and the blood is low in “brain food,” memory function is poor.

Esther, who was afraid she would get dementia like her mother, did some research on the subject and found that keeping your body moving and the blood flowing lessened the chances of developing dementia – and it became her mission to fight and move all the way to her grave as she helped others to do the same.

Memory problems can be caused by other things as well, such as medications, illnesses, such as depression, thyroid problems, allergies to food, poor digestion, hormone imbalance and stress can also be contributing factors. Many of these problems can be helped with a regular exercise and balanced diet – and can even allow you to cut down on medications.

Don’t assume that old age brings memory problems. Do as Esther did and get up and move. You can teach an old dog new tricks – if they want to learn.

This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. I’m glad to show you that nourishing your brain can improve your memory.