A Your aunt's condition may not be memory loss but rather a difficulty in recovering data into her consciousness from her memory stores, which is a slightly different problem. You can help by reassuring her that "age-related memory loss" such as this is very common in older people — in fact, it's almost a rule — and that there are many techniques that can help. Once your aunt understands a little more about memory failure, she'll panic less and be less anxious. Anxiety in itself does not worsen memory loss, but it can make it more difficult to treat, so the first priority is to deal with that — the improvement in memory recall will follow with advice and treatment.

Q My six-year-old son has developed a taste for coffee after sipping his father's, and around twice a week, we give him a weak, milky coffee, which he really enjoys. However, I can't help thinking this isn't great for him — should we avoid caffeine drinks altogether?

A There's no reason for children to avoid caffeine drinks unless they become overactive after having them, which obviously isn't the case with your son. In fact, it is good that he is developing varied tastes, so don't worry. You are obviously not giving him too much, and he will enjoy sharing grown-up habits with you and your husband, which is both fun and good for you as a family.

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