Newsy Notes February/March, 2020
Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger
As I age I notice my memory is not as good as it used to be. As we age we also experience some loss of touch sensitivity, taste, eyesight, hearing and problems with balance.. Of course I want to do what I can to maintain my facilities particularly memory. I’ve heard it said blind people have the best memories; well, we depend on memory a lot!
Memory is network structures, storage of information and the ability to recall information when needed. It is now believed memory loss isn’t inevitable. Our brain can grow new pathways and new connections by learning new things and staying engaged.
Fleeting memory lapses are more upsetting as we get older; we fear loss of intellectual function and worry do we have dementia! Most of the fleeting problems reflect normal changes in the brain, making it a bit harder to learn new things quickly.
Some symptoms of dementia are forgetting routine things constantly, trouble learning new things and difficulty with complex tasks. It seems to be a matter of degree, small lapse are Okay, but more and more of the ones cited here are troublesome and need evaluation by a professional.
Anything that helps the body helps the mind: good nutrition and exercise. Life long learning is excellent. Slow down, live in the moment . Reduce stress-be aware of how stress affects you.
I read that in order to enhance memory one could move something and try to remember the new location. I didn’t like this idea as I am organized: my keys always go in their tray, cane goes beside the door and so on always. But I did decide to move the soap dispenser to the opposite side of the sink; someday I will switch it back. I switch hands to brush my teeth and I am attempting to perform more tasks with my non-dominant hand to create new pathways in my brain.
1. Keep learning. Challenge your brain with activities such as puzzles, gardening, dancing or learning new words.
2. Use all you senses. Example: try to guess smells in restaurants and elsewhere.
3. Believe in yourself. Believe you can maintain and improve.
4. Economize your brain use. Organize and keep distractions to a minimum. Focus on new information you want to remember. (My favorite-don’t waste your brain power being disorganized.)
5. Repeat what you want to learn. Repeat it several times, and if you can, write it down.
6. Space it out. Repetition is best when it is studied after longer periods of time. Let some time go by and repeat what you want to remember.
7. Make a mnemonic. As RICE to remember first-aid for injured limbs: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Associate the first letter of a new name with something familiar
(References: MDSupport, Harvard Health)