In its July 4 issue, Johns Hopkins Health Alerts published a checklist of 9 common-sense tips to help overcome minor memory lapses that come with aging. Johns Hopkins cautions that “age-associated memory impairment can’t be eliminated completely,” but, they say, there are some strategies that may help deal with normal memory lapses at any age.
The article, Improve Your Memory With These 9 Common-Sense Techniques, is available in the July 4, 2011 issue of the Johns Hopkins Health Alert on Memory.
Here is a summary of the 9 tips to improve your memory, from Johns Hopkins:
- Place commonly lost items in a designated spot. Pick one place to keep things you tend to lose, and keep them there.
- Write things down. Keep a calendar of your appointments, a list of phone numbers you need to remember, and a daily “To Do” list, and keep these in a conspicuous place that you will remember.
- Say words out loud. Repeat people’s names out loud when you meet them, or tell yourself aloud that you have completed a task you need to remember (e.g.“I’ve turned off the stove”) after doing so. These extra verbal reminders to yourself will help you remember later.
- Use memory aids. “Use a pocket notepad, cell phone, wristwatch alarm, voice recorder or other aids to help remember what you need to do or to keep track of information,” Johns Hopkins suggests.
- Use visual images. Create a visual image in your mind to help you remember new information. For example, to remember a person’s name, try to associate the person with a visual image of something that evokes that person to you. Visual images “make the information more vivid and, therefore, more memorable,” according to Johns Hopkins.
- Group items using mnemonics. Do the first letters of each item you are trying to remember spell a memorable acronym? Or can you group them so that the first letter of each item will form a phrase or evoke a sentence or rhyme that you will remember?
- Concentrate and relax. If you want to remember something, concentrate on doing so, tell yourself you will remember this, and try to block out distractions. Try to stay calm and avoid stress. “Anxiety and stress can inhibit recall; Learning a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing or muscle-relaxing exercises, may help,” the Johns Hopkins article suggests.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleeping on it can help. According to Johns Hopkins, “During sleep the brain consolidates and firms up newly acquired information.” “Studies indicate that people are better at remembering recently learned information the next day if they have had a good night’s sleep.”
- Rule out other causes of memory loss. Consult your doctor if you believe that you are having memory difficulties. According to the Johns Hopkins Alert, “Some medical conditions can cause memory problems that can be corrected, including depression, hearing or vision loss, thyroid dysfunction, certain medications, vitamin deficiencies and stress.”
Overall, to improve memory at any age, “The keys are to stay focused, active and alert,” concludes Johns Hopkins.
See the complete article, Improve Your Memory With These 9 Common-Sense Techniques, in the July 4, 2011 issue of the Johns Hopkins Health Alert on Memory.
And see, the Johns Hopkins Special Report, Diagnosing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease, by Dr. Peter V. Rabins, director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Medical Editor of the Johns Hopkins Memory Bulletin.
For more information on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, see our research pages on Alzheimer’s/ Dementia, including:
See also our resource pages on How to Deal with Difficult Elderly Behavior – a common symptom of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, which presents one of the greatest challenges for caregivers.
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