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8 Memory Tips for Seniors

As we grow older, it is common to worry that our memory will degrade. Many of the strategies we can employ to sustain a good memory are also the habits of healthy people. However, it might be that you feel some things are starting to slip already. Let’s look at eight memory tips to help address those concerns.

1 Sleep

You might think that sleep does little for your memory. Nothing could be further from the truth! Good sleep is probably one of the best memory tips as it triggers changes in the brain that can solidify memories. Therefore, any new memories you make during the day are more likely to stay with you if you get a good six to nine hours of sleep.

The more undisturbed the sleep, the better. Studies show that highly disrupted sleep can result in fragmented memories and the sense that events cannot be pieced together. When we are younger, people tend to be happier to put this down to something as simple as sleep. As you age, you tend to look to other factors when all that might be needed is a good night of sleep.

2 Diet

Memory strategies can also have the added benefit of improving all-around health. Foods high in saturated fats or trans fats are not only damaging to the heart, there is some evidence that they result in inflammation that can also damage the brain. Therefore, eating food rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats can help.

Your diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil. All these foods are why the Mediterranean diet is so often recommended. The good cholesterol, HDL, present in this food can prevent blood vessels from clogging or becoming damaged, reducing the risk of memory loss.

3Gentle Physical Exercise

Higher blood flow to the brain achieved with gentle exercise a few times a week can generally help with mental wellbeing and cognitive function. Exercise also has a ripple effect on other aspects of your life.

With exercise comes with a boost of endorphins, which can improve appetite. Both exercise and an improved diet will likely help you want to socialize more. (Another bonus benefit!) All these have the positive impact of helping to enhance memory, as your mind will be active and engaged.

Exercise is a multi-pronged memory tip!

4Harder Mental Exercise

Your memory is a use-it-or-lose-it tool of the brain. If you regularly commit to learning new skills, your brain will stay flexible and open to retaining those things you want to remember.

Memory Tips
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Anyone at any age can become forgetful and sluggish in thought if they do not undertake some form of new learning. Therefore, play some word games, learn chess, take up a musical instrument, and many more.

These will keep your brain activity levels up and keep it fit and well for when you want to retain memories.

Bonus Memory Tip: Memory Joggers

One activity Memory Cafe Directory offers is Memory Joggers. This is a fun recall exercise designed for individuals with early cognitive impairment.

Simply recite the phrase and pause to allow the participant to recall the right word. Science tells us that every time we recall a memory, it strengthens the ties to it.

5Meet Up With People

When we are alone, it is easy to become withdrawn and for thoughts to slow down. Engaging with others, such as our family and friends, can significantly heighten our brain activity. Studies suggest that just 10 minutes of social interaction each day can help improve our memory.

6Create Your Memory Palace

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The idea of a Memory Palace goes back beyond the ancient Greeks. It is a technique of linking things we want to remember to a place that we know well. To help this practical tip work for you, you need to choose somewhere that you can walk around from your memory. Then, at each stage in your journey, you can attach things you want to remember.

Imagine your shopping list. You walk through your front door and look at the grass in the garden and how the lawn could do with a trim. At that point, you realize a cow would be great – and a cow gives us milk. When you get to the store, you see the meat counter and remember that you need milk!

The more outlandish you make your Memory Palace, the more your imagination runs wild, and the more likely you will remember. Not only is this a trick to deal with the immediate need to get items from the store, but it also has a proven capacity to improve long-term cognitive function.

7Chunking and Mnemonics

Chunking is a more straightforward memory technique you can use. Everybody’s short-term memory is restricted to between three and seven items. Therefore, organizing ideas into chunks is a great way to remember.

Think about your phone number and how you say it in pieces so you can remember the whole thing – the same can be true for most things in our lives.

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Mnemonics are another creative way to keep the brain active and to remember lists of items. For example, you may want to remember the colors of the rainbow. They are:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet

To help you remember them, you might think of the first letter of each word in each of these phrases:

  • Read Out Your Good Book In Verse
  • Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
  • Roy G. Biv (use every letter in this one!)

8Use a Calendar and Keep Notes

Sometimes worries about our memory are unwarranted. Sometimes we expect too much and become worried when it doesn’t work as expected. Life can be busy, and even people with the best memories can let things slip.

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Therefore, allowing yourself to have a calendar on your wall and using this to write your crucial reminders is a practical approach. You can use it to store birthdays and anniversaries, as well as critical appointments.

Equally, keeping a notebook and making quick entries about your week can be a prompt when trying to recall something. If comfortable with your smart phone or tablet, there are voice note and diary applications available that can help.

Memory Tips: Getting Started

One of the most important ways to keep your memory strong is by reducing stress. Worrying that you are getting older and might lose your memory could be the trigger to make this concern come true.

Therefore, much of the advice about maintaining your memory into your senior years revolves around relaxing, having fun, being creative, and generally keeping your health in check.

While there are sensory tests you can request to check to see if there is a genuine problem, most memory strategies simply require you to keep your brain active.