How to Boost your Memory

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 62– 5/27/15 

As a person from the middle years of the baby boomer generation (born in the fifties), I’m at an age where my memory is a concern.  I don’t want to lose it, and I want to keep my brain functioning well for as long as I can. At work or in social situations, I regularly hear people of my age, and even younger, complaining of memory problems. It doesn’t have to be that way – we have some power over it. We just need to take some simple steps, not only to improve our memory, but also to enhance our overall brain function.  

I know that at age 58, my memory is simply not trustworthy. Brain farts are a common occurrence. Too often, I resort to making lists and notes to remember things. Recent notes have included gentle reminders such as: take shower, go to work and make dinner.  Ok, I’m just kidding, my memory isn’t that bad.

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I’ve also gotten to the point of speaking to inanimate objects, such as the stove; as in, “I’ve shut off the stove.” This is so I won’t go crazy on my drive back to work, wondering if I turned the darn thing off.  I guess I won’t worry too much about this until I start having long conversations with my appliances.

My husband points out that since I’m always in a hurry, my memory is not the problem; it’s simply lack of concentration.  Memory experts would agree with that assertion. One way to combat that age-related forgetfulness is to take the time to focus on what it is you want to remember.  Distracted thinking leads to memory ‘burps.’

People who research this kind of stuff also point out that there are ways we can proactively address age-related memory issues. The actions I’ve taken, though they may sound silly, are actually good for my memory. 

Experts point out that making lists of important tasks helps keep them in your memory banks. Nowadays, you don’t need an old fashioned pen and paper list – cell phones provide reminder and note making applications.

Also, saying things out loud, such as repeating the name of a person after you’re introduced, helps store that information for later retrieval. 

A common sense way of keeping track of your reading glasses, keys or other commonly lost item is by simply putting them in the same spot every day. My husband is always preaching about this to me, and I have to admit that he seldom loses things.  

Another way to remember something like a person’s name is to create a picture in your mind based on the name. Which isn’t so tough if a person’s name is Harry Snow! Other names might be more difficult to create a mind visualization.

We can also make some lifestyle modifications to enhance our memory and other cognitive functions.  This includes regular exercise to increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Healthier eating and including antioxidant-rich foods to our diets is also important.  Playing strategic games, learning a new language, journaling, and taking an online college course can also help our brain functions.  Taking charge of our brain health is an important step for vital aging. 

When I did some research on the subject of memory, I found out what we all know to be true:  some memory loss is simply normal as we age.  It’s common for a person to occasionally lose their keys – what’s scary is forgetting what keys are used for, which can be a sign of dementia. People who have concerns about memory issues may want to address it with their doctors, to see if an underlying condition is causing it. If so, dealing with that condition will improve the memory concerns. 

For Further Reading:

Simple Techniques for Improving Memory 

Memory Boosters for Seniors: Vitamin b12 & Folic Acid

Improve your Memory with a Good Night’s Sleep

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009 – 2015

Training your Brain for Vital Longevity

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 12– 1/30/15

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In their book, Brain Fit for Life, authors (and neuroscientists) Simon Evans and Paul Burghardt point out that our brain is always active and changing, even as we age.  Our brain’s ability to change is known as neuroplasticity. What’s great about this is that we can continue to help our brain develop, even as we get older. 

In their book, Evans and Burghardt talk about the four cornerstones of brain fitness. Mental activity is one of these cornerstones. 

After doing some googling, Bea found some interesting ways to boost our brain cells:

50 Ways to Boost your Brain Power 

Bea’s also a promoter of lifelong learning – learn something new that challenges those brain cells: a musical instrument, an online class (Ed2go has some fun, reasonably priced options); listen to virtual lectures at websites such as Coursera.  You can also foster your creative juices by taking a drawing, painting, pottery or writing course.  

Bea listed some fun choices in her post, 7 Free Online Learning Resources

Source:

Evans, S., PhD, and Burghardt, P., Phd. Brain Fit for Life. Riverpointe Publications: Milan, MI. 2008. 

 

Don’t Lose Your Mind – It’s The Only One You’ve Got!

Obviously, Bea’s been on a “brain kick” this past week. Hopefully, she’s given you some ideas about how to put your brain into high gear.

Here are a few resources for further reading:

50 Ways to Boost your Brain Power

Most of these 50 suggestions would be easy to implement (such as meditating, engaging in debate, setting goals, listening to music, and so on). However, the 4th suggestion on the list is “brainwave entrainment.” Bea had no idea what this means, so she found the definition at Wikipedia.

Information about the brain and brain function from the Franklin Institute, Resources for Science Learning.

For information about e-learning and, check out my post here.

Bea Boomer’s Quotes of the Day:

Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open. (Thomas Dewar)

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. (Mark Twain)