“Fit body, Fit mind.”
Middle-aged and older adults may worry about forgetting a person’s name or misplacing car keys. Is this a sign of Alzheimer’s? In most cases, it’s age-related memory loss.
Let’s explore six memory components.
1. Semantic memory allows retention of word vocabulary and general knowledge. This allows performance of routine tasks, such as preparing meals and operating a smartphone.
2. Episodic memory involves recalling recent events.
3. Source memory includes learning a piece of information for the first time.
4. Recall of short term information involves working memory.
5. Prospective memory is remembering things to do in the future, such as appointments and coming errands.
6. Fluid Intelligence is the method for solving or finishing a task. It’s fifty to eighty percent heritable from your parents. Brain training can improve fluid intelligence by expanding a wider variety of tasks that exercise working memory.
Let’s put this into practice. Suppose you need to buy a Christmas gift. Create a mental relevant image, word, or phrase that connects the gift to your recipient. The more personally relevant and emotional the gift, the more likely you’ll remember the task. It might be helpful to use an acronym, such as “BIG” – Buy Gift for …… .
Creating “To Do” lists posted on your kitchen door, day planner, or into your cell phone can help.
Increased physical activity translates to boost in memory function. Physical exercise includes walking, aerobics, gardening, golf, tennis, dancing, and stair climbing. Let’s face it.These activities demand time, full effort, and practice.
The more we use our memory, the more our memory is sharpened.
Maintaining memory in older age is not a lost cause. Get started.
Source: “Building Better Brains,” Scientific American Mind, September/October 2012