Fighting memory loss

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The Silver Life - Memory Loss

A few ideas that can help us stay ahead of the frustrating memory lapses.

Us Silver Lifers have what seem to be more frequent incidences of minor or major memory loss.  If we can, for the moment, discount the more serious reasons for memory loss, I would like to take a look at how to combat what may be a natural process for us.

Every one of us has had the sensation of forgetting names, grocery list items, where we left our wallet or purse, etc.  We may be thinking that this is happening more frequently lately and, if so, here are some tips and exercises you might try to reduce the frequency of those events and turn back the clock on memory loss.

  • Make a list.  Spend a little time really concentrating on what you’ll be doing today.  Are you going to meet some people, go shopping, and do household tasks?  Just a few minutes thinking about what is ahead should make it easier to recall them later in the day.
  • Try to make your lists logical and ordered.  If you are going grocery shopping, put all the produce purchased together, and the same for dairy, meat, cleaning supplies.  Can you make an acronym of your list?  For instance lettuce, carrots, peas, onions, oranges and apples could be made to be the nonsense acronym of POOLCA – a lot easier to remember than the entire list. Or, if you are more creative than I, make your list into a rhyme scheme or song.
  • When trying to remember people’s names, try linking them to a visual image like Trevor to earthquake tremor, or Shelly to seashells. A link could be something that you always associate with them or something you make up.
  • Make written lists.  This is my favorite, because I try to list everything I’m going to do and keep my list in my shirt pocket.  That way I can not only stay current for the day, I can quickly record ideas that I have to do tomorrow as well. I can review it during the day and also at night to see what I have to include on the next day’s tasks.

These are but a few of the ideas that can help us stay ahead of the frustrating memory lapses we tend to find facing us.  But whether you think of using these or others, remember to stay positive about yourself.  The brain reacts favorably to exercise just as the body does.

And, as I’ve written before, mental activities like crossword puzzles, board games like scrabble, chess, card games like bridge, etc. fight off mental decay and improve memory.

Even seemingly small things like breaking our normal driving routes, varying our diets and how we prepare them, even altering our bedtime routine can be stimulating and bring good results.

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Dennis F.
Dennis has lived or traveled in Australia, the United States and Asia. He is an Army veteran with a PhD in Child and Developmental Psychology. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, USA, with his wife Nancy and two dogs. Dennis is keenly interested in antiques, particularly militaria and coins. He occupies his time researching and writing for The Silver Life and caretaking houses for the summer residents of the mountains.

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