What is Memory?
There are three basic steps involved in memory.
- Acquisition – in this step, by concentrating (listening, reading, etc), information is sent to your brain.
- Storage – in this step, the information is stored in different areas of the brain epending on the type of information (for example: music is stored in a different area than words).
- Retrieval – In this step, the information is brought forth — that is, you “remember” the information that was sent to your brain.
Our memory does not change very much as we get older except in these three areas:
- It takes more time to learn new information, e.g. if you try to learn a new language when you are in your 70s vs. when you were in your 30s, it will take you longer to learn but you can learn it!
- It takes more time to recall (retrieve) information, e.g. If you have ever said “I can’t remember the name of the movie I saw last week, but then 30 minutes later you remember the name.
- It is harder to multitask, e.g. have you ever started to boil water for your coffee, and then the telephone rings, and you start talking to your friend and you forget all about the kettle which is boiling?
Serious memory problems are not part of healthy aging.