It's all fun and games until you forget why you're laughing

WE OFTEN laugh off our 'senior moments', and it's very easy to take memory for granted until it starts to fade.

We've all misplaced keys, forgotten an acquaintance's name, or a phone number. When we're young, we don't tend to pay much mind to these lapses, but as we grow older, sometimes we worry about what they mean.

While it's true that certain brain changes are inevitable when it comes to aging, major memory problems is not one of them.

That's why it's important to know the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and the symptoms that may indicate a developing cognitive problem.

The primary difference between age-related memory loss and dementia is that the former isn't disabling. The memory lapses that many of us experience have little impact on our daily lives.

Dementia, on the other hand, is marked by a persistent, disabling decline in two or more intellectual abilities such as memory, language, judgment, and abstract thinking.

A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Just as exercise will improve your physical fitness, there are plenty of ways to exercise your brain, improve your memory, and stay mentally sharp.

Sleep, diet, doing activities that stretch your memory, plus spending time with friends can also boost your memory, even as you age.