The "senior moment" -- it's one of the most common stereotypes in movies and on television. But the "senior moment" used so often for cheap laughs isn't nearly as "common" as you've been led to believe.
In fact, most seniors barely experience any significant form of cognitive decline over the years.
If you're a senior yourself, you already knew that -- and you're probably more than a little annoyed by those constant portrayals of doddering oldsters who can't remember what they had for breakfast.
Which is why you likely won't be surprised to hear about a recent study that found that two-thirds of all seniors experience very little cognitive decline in their golden years.
For ten years, researchers tracked 1,049 nuns, priests, and monks between the ages of 56 and 102 who were dementia-free at the start of the study and gave them annual cognitive tests.
They found that only a third of the volunteers suffered either a moderate or rapid cognitive decline, with the rest experiencing declines so small that one of the authors of the study said it wasn't much of a change at all.
But while the study published in the journal Age and Aging proves that you can remain sharp even as the years go by, too many doctors still assume that a failing memory is a normal part of growing old.
So when older patients complain that they can't quite remember as well as they used to, docs often just shrug it off.
"You're just getting older," they say. "Nothing to worry about."
That's just patronizing and insulting -- because a failing memory could be something to worry about after all. Docs who can't or won't take it seriously aren't worth remembering anyway.
In many cases, the little slips written off as senior moments – and even some cases of dementia itself -- are actually the warning signs of completely fixable problems, including sleep disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and drug side effects.
A good naturopathic physician can help get it all straightened out in no time.
And if -- like most seniors -- you haven't experienced any memory problems, there are steps you can take right now to help keep it that way.
A number of studies have found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk for dementia, including one that found a drink or two a day can slash the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 40 percent. (Read about it here.)
I'll have more on another study based on the same group of priests and nuns tomorrow -- one that blows another aging stereotype right out of the water.