By Susan Koeppen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Being forgetful as our hair goes gray doesn’t mean we’re losing it because being absent-minded is a part of normal aging.

But, here’s what we can do to keep our wits about us as we get older.

Joan Boneberg is a busy business owner and author. In her late 40’s she started forgetting things like where she left her keys or phone.

“And frankly sometimes it just drives you batty,” she said.

But, forgetting people’s names or where you put something is perfectly normal as we age.

The good news for a healthy brain is it won’t get worse as you get older.

“Our ability to process information simply gets slower. How we encode and learn information is slower,” Dr. Sharon Bergquist, of the Emory School of Medicine, said.

Our brains shrink as we age, but the information you’re trying to remember hasn’t been lost it just takes longer to call it up.

“The middle age brain becomes more distracted so it’s harder for us to focus on tuning out more irrelevant information. We have to be more deliberate and focused,” Dr. Bergquist said.

So, get organized, make lists, look at your schedule and put things like your keys in a designated place.

“Stay physically active and mentally engaged. Constantly learning helps the brain keep developing new pathways. And existing pathways get crisper and sharper and information travels down those pathways a little faster,” Dr. Bergquist said.

Finally, don’t forget your sense of humor.

“I would much rather use my energy to laugh rather than to sob,” Boneberg said.

You can also try a technique called mind mapping.

Just close your eyes and envision yourself completing a task you have scheduled for later in the day.

It helps you remember that task still needs to be completed.

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