As we age, we may often start to wonder when something slips our mind, or we misplace something if this is just regular forgetfulness or if time is slowly starting to get the best of us. While the threatening spectre of Alzheimer’s disease can loom, this memory care center can help you figure out whether your forgetfulness is the passing of time or something more serious.
However, age-related memory loss isn’t something we merely have to contend with. There are plenty of ways to keep your mind spritely and “firing on all cylinders”. Here are 7 strategies you can use to keep your memory sharp as you age.
1. Never stop learning
People with a higher level of education have been shown to be less affected by age-related memory loss. Studies suggest this is because people with advanced education are more likely to continue learning as they age. If you have a job that keeps you mentally active, consider also adding in a new hobby that can work out your brain. Reading, puzzles, classes, or creating music or art can all help preserve your brain’s connections and minimize memory loss.
2. Make a point to use all your senses
When learning something new, we have a better chance of retaining that information if we use multiple senses. This is because more parts of the brain are engaged when new information is being processed. Try challenging your senses when learning something new, like guessing ingredients in an unfamiliar dish, or notice the feel of smells of materials you’re using when learning a new skill.
3. Know where to direct mental energy
Take advantage of planners, calendars, and proper organization to relieve the mental strain of having to remember multiple things at once. Let Google Home keep track of upcoming birthdays, and your phone act as your reminder to take your medication. Designate one spot in the house for your keys, glasses, and purse so that you don’t become confused looking for them. Doing this will allow you to focus more on things like retaining new information.
4. Repeat what you know
Repetition is key to remembering. So, if you want to remember something you just learned, repeat it out loud or write it down. This allows you to reinforce the connection and trigger a new memory to be formed. For example, when meeting someone new, repeat their name back to them, or use it immediately afterward in a sentence. Don’t worry about seeming odd, people love hearing their name!
5. Don’t believe what they say
The myths of age and memory-loss can actually contribute to real memory-loss since it causes people to lose faith in their own ability to retain new information. Instead, believe that you are in control of your memory function and that your brain is just as capable now as it was fifteen years ago. This positive reinforcement will make it more likely that you see improvement in your memory skills.
6. Space it out to remember it
While repetition is great for remembering things, doing it all once will only allow you to retain the information for a short period of time. It’s the difference between cramming for an exam the night before and slowly absorbing the information over a month. Spaced rehearsals can improve your recall as well as the clarity with which you recall the information.