Friday, December 3

7 methods to keep your memory sharp no matter how old you are

We all notice certain changes in our capacity to remember things as we become older.

Perhaps you went into the kitchen for no apparent reason, or you couldn’t recall a familiar name during a chat. You could even forget about a meeting because it slipped your mind. Memory lapses may happen at any age, but as we become older, we’re more concerned about them because we think they’re a symptom of dementia, or a lack of intellectual function. Significant memory loss in elderly individuals is caused by biological diseases, brain damage, or neurological illness, with Alzheimer’s disease being one of the most dreaded of these.

The majority of the temporary memory issues we have as we become older are due to natural changes in the structure and function of the brain. Certain cognitive processes may be slowed as a result of these changes, making it more difficult to learn new things rapidly or block out distractions that may interfere with memory and learning. Granted, when we have to acquire new abilities or balance many obligations, these changes may be unpleasant and appear far from innocuous. We may employ a variety of techniques to safeguard and develop our minds, according to decades of study. Here are seven ideas to get you started.

1. Keep learning

A greater degree of education is connected with improved mental functioning in old age. Experts believe that increased education might help people maintain their memory by instilling the habit of being cognitively engaged. Mental activity is thought to trigger mechanisms that assist sustain individual brain cells while also stimulating communication between them. Many individuals have jobs that keep them intellectually busy, but taking up a hobby or learning a new skill may also be beneficial. Read, join a book club, play chess or bridge, write your life narrative, solve crossword or jigsaw puzzles, enrol in a class, study music or art, or plan a new garden layout. Propose or volunteer for a project at work that requires a talent you don’t often utilise. Building and maintaining brain connections is a lifetime process, so make it a priority.

2. Use all your senses

The more senses you employ when learning anything, the more of your brain is engaged in memory retention. Adults were shown a sequence of emotionally neutral pictures, each accompanied by a scent, in one research. They were not asked to recall what they had witnessed. They were then shown a series of pictures without smells and asked to identify which ones they’d seen before. They exhibited good memory for all odor-paired images, particularly those linked with pleasant odours. When participants saw items that were initially linked with odours, the piriform cortex, the brain’s major odor-processing region, became active, even though the smells were no longer present and the subjects hadn’t sought to remember them, according to brain imaging. So, when you walk into the unknown, test all of your senses. Try guessing the components while you smell and taste a new restaurant meal, for example. Try sculpting or pottery and pay attention to how the materials feel and smell.

3. Believe in yourself

Myths about ageing may lead to memory loss. When middle-aged and older students are exposed to negative preconceptions about ageing and memory, they perform worse on memory tests, whereas positive messages regarding memory preservation into old age do better. People who think they have little control over their memory function are less likely to try to preserve or improve their memory abilities, increasing their risk of cognitive decline. You have a higher chance of keeping your mind fresh if you feel you can progress and put that conviction into practise.

4. Economize your brain use

You’ll be able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and essential things if you don’t have to spend mental energy remembering where you left your keys or the time of your granddaughter’s birthday party. To keep regular information accessible, use calendars and planners, maps, grocery lists, file folders, and address books. Make a space for your glasses, pocketbook, keys, and other frequently used objects. Remove clutter from your office or home to reduce distractions and allow you to concentrate on new knowledge.

5. Repeat what you want to know

Repeat what you’ve just heard, read, or thought out loud or write it down if you want to remember it. You’ll be reinforcing the memory or link this way. “So, John, where did you meet Camille?” is a good example of how to utilise someone’s name when speaking with them: “So, John, where did you meet Camille?” Tell yourself aloud what you’ve done if you put one of your items somewhere other than its normal location. Also, don’t be afraid to request that information be repeated.

6. Space it out

When repetition is correctly timed, it is most effective as a learning technique. It’s better not to study for an exam by repeating things many times in a short amount of time. Instead, review the basics for extended periods of time – once an hour, then every few hours, and finally every day. When learning difficult information, such as the specifics of a new job assignment, spacing out study sessions is very beneficial. Spaced rehearsal enhances recollection not just in healthy persons, but also in those with specific physically based cognitive issues, such as those linked with multiple sclerosis, according to research.

7. Make a mnemonic

This is a unique approach to keep track of lists. Mnemonic devices can be acronyms (like RICE for remembering first-aid advice for damaged limbs: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) or phrases (like RICE for remembering first-aid advice for injured limbs: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) (such as the classic “Every good boy does fine” to remember the musical notes E, G, B, D, and F on the lines of the treble clef).