Health Topics

Stress and Memory Lapses

Author: Kathryn Kilpatrick offers suggestions for lifelong learning and successful aging. As a speech-language pathologist with over four decades of experience working with older adults, Kathryn Kilpatrick specializes in working with older adults and their families facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In the last decade people of all ages seem to be complaining about their memory.

Have you noticed that your memory is not what it used to be? Join the many people, both young and old, complaining about forgetting something or trying to figure what they were just doing. There is no quick fix for improving your memory. Like losing weight, you need to be aware of what will help in your particular situation then make a conscious effort to work your plan.

Stress and Memory Lapses

Some days things go smoother than others. When the stress in your life increases, it is harder to stay focused and your mind is preoccupied. More and more I am hearing complaints of memory concerns, which are not limited just to older adults. Have you noticed there are times when this happens to you? For those of us who know a loved one with dementia, the fears can escalate even more quickly.


Many years ago I was in the airport looking through a book I had purchased on activities for those with Alzheimer’s disease at our national convention. A man approached me and asked me if I was reading that book that fast. It was quickly followed by a question about his memory concerns. When we talked, he revealed there was a lot of stress in his life personally and professionally. My thoughts were that he probably was having these problems because of what was going on since he was looking for a new job and his mother was seriously ill. I shared some suggestions which included relying more on memory props and incorporating some stress reduction strategies in his daily routine. If his concerns persisted, I recommended a good physical since there are many reversible causes of memory loss.

Memory Basic To Do

Humor is one of the ways to reduce those stress hormones. Lightening up is sometimes a challenge during difficult times. What tickles your funny bone? This week focus on finding little things that make you laugh or smile. Find a website that can deliver a daily joke that appeals to you. Create a humor resource library with funny movies or reading material that can become part of your “toolkit” when you need a break.

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters and Communication Connection. She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.