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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Healthy Geezer: Techniques to improve your memory

Friday, November 8, 2019 by FRED CICETTI Special to The Press in Focus

Second of two parts

The difference between normal and abnormal memory difficulties comes down to this:

If you forget a name or where you left your keys, you’re probably OK.

If you can’t remember how to brush your teeth, you need medical attention.

Here are more memory problems that aren’t part of normal aging:

Noticeable deterioration of memory over several months

Repeating stories you told only minutes before, or asking the same questions over and over

Inability to keep track of what you did earlier in the day

Forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times

Getting lost in a familiar place

Unexplained mood changes

Forgetting common words when speaking or using the wrong words such as “phone” for “TV remote”

Difficulty following directions

Trouble deciding

Difficulty handling money

That old saying about “staying young at heart” apparently works to improve your memory.

According to one study, done at North Carolina State University, older people who believe their age diminished their memory may be undermining their mental abilities.

The researchers worked with 100 adults in two groups in their 60s and over-70. Participants were asked to do a series of tasks involving arithmetic and memorization.

The researchers told some of those tested that their age might affect the test results. The study found that members of this group did worse than those who weren’t influenced by the testers.

What does aging really do to your brain?

We begin to lose brain cells slowly in our 20s. The body also starts to make less brain chemicals. Aging may affect memory by changing the way the brain stores and retrieves information.

Your short-term and remote memories aren’t usually affected by aging. But your recent memory may be affected. That’s why you forget where you put your keys two hours ago.

Here are techniques to help you remember things:

I’m listing this one first because it works every time for me. Put important items, such as your keys, in the same place every time. When I’ve lost my car keys, I’ve found them in the weirdest places.

When you can’t think of a word, go through the alphabet in your mind. When you get to the first letter of the word, you might recall it.

Jotting appointments and reminders on a calendar helps. Most cell phones have a calendar in them. I put everything I have to remember in my cell phone.

Make lists for everything: shopping, chores, items to take when traveling.

Rely on routines. If you associate lunch with taking your medicine, it will help you remember. Associations are important for remembering other things such as a route to a friend’s house.

When you are introduced to someone, repeat the person’s name to yourself several times.

Have a question? Email: fred@healthygeezer.com. Order “How To Be A Healthy Geezer,” 218-page compilation of columns: healthygeezer.com

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Fred Cicetti

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.