A New Route Through Memory Lane—Ten Memory Boosting Tips to Use Today

A New Route Through Memory Lane—Ten Memory Boosting Tips to Use Today

Forgetfulness may be a common complaint among older adults, but we all have moments where we occasionally wonder where our brains went. Phrases like “I went into the other room to get something but I forgot what I was looking for,” and “I just cannot seem to remember names very well” are all too common. Many may assume that as we age, our memories are bound to deteriorate. However, the brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age and significant memory loss is not necessarily a normal part of the aging process. Just like with muscles, you have to use your brain, or lose it. And if you use it, you’ll improve it.

If you are looking for some ideas to improve your memory, there are two types of strategies that may be useful—internal and external.

Internal Strategies are tactics that you use in your mind to help you remember information.  Start by reducing background noise and distractions to allow for full attention to the information you’d like to remember, and try some of these tips:

  • Pay close attention to the task at hand
  • Divide large amounts of information into smaller pieces
  • Repeat information back to yourself in your own words
  • Ask people to repeat information if you need them to
  • Link new information to something you already know

External Strategies are those you put in place in your environment to help you remember information. Carefully adapting your surroundings to support and establish routine will put less of a burden on your memory and set you up for success. These strategies are most helpful if you keep them on hand, refer to them regularly, and have partners and friends that know you use these strategies as well:

  • Keep a planner or calendar with you to stay organized
  • Use a notebook or journal to take notes
  • Place reminders on Post-it notes in easy-to-see places
  • Use a cell phone app for reminders or to set alarms
  • Try using dated pill boxes for medications and vitamins

Many find that remembering details from their childhood or events from years ago is simple but recalling new information can be difficult. Any sudden or alarming memory changes affecting your ability to carry out your daily activities might mean it’s time to contact your primary care provider:

  • Having trouble doing familiar things, such as cooking, or getting dressed.
  • Becoming disoriented while walking or driving to places that were formerly familiar.

In some cases, a simple fix could come with your provider adjusting your medications. Your primary care provider is also able to evaluate other potential causes of changes in memory, including depression, thyroid issues, dehydration, vitamin deficiency, stroke, metabolic disorders and dementia. Many services are available to help treat symptoms of memory loss, like working with a speech-language pathologist or other specialist to help you improve your memory.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office

1 Comment

  1. Lorraine Gruner

    Being a senior citizen myself, I have experienced many of the scenarios and really appreciated the many organized remedies that were suggested for each one. They are practical, appropriate and easy to do!

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