Improve Memory With These Simple Strategies



Improve Memory With These Simple Strategies
An older woman looks through a photo album with her caregiver to improve memory.

Help improve memory for someone you love with dementia with these proven tactics.

Remember memorizing the order of the colors of the rainbow in elementary school? A lot of us were introduced to Roy G. Biv to learn this feat – one of the many mnemonics we learn that, interestingly, often stay with us for a lifetime and help us improve memory.

As we get older, some degree of memory impairment is to be anticipated; and naturally it is even more pronounced when Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is a factor. Researchers are continually aiming to find effective methods to enhance memory and cognitive functioning, and have discovered some interesting findings on “old school” strategies such as mnemonics. Here’s what they have most recently identified:

Mnemonics

Mnemonics provides a link to a memory through a song, phrase, abbreviation, etc. This sort of training demonstrated remarkable results in increasing activity in areas of the brain that are typically affected by Alzheimer’s, resulting in increased retention of information.

There are limitless mnemonic strategies that are very effective in improving memory. As an example, try mnemonic keywords. These are an enjoyable and creative way to memorize words in a different language. It involves choosing a word that’s like the new word you wish to learn, and visualizing a picture that brings the two words together. For example, if you’re trying to remember that chapeau is French for the word “hat,” you can picture Charlie Chaplin and his infamous black hat. The “Chap” section of his name can trigger the initial letters in chapeau, and the memory will stick.

Spaced Retrieval Training

This tactic entails gradually increasing the length of time between memory tests, and was shown to also be highly effective for people with Alzheimer’s. In contrast with mnemonics, however, there was actually a reduction in brain activity, leading scientists to determine that the information had been processed more efficiently.

Spaced retrieval training is extremely useful for boosting independence and reducing anxiety for people with cognitive challenges. Choose a desired activity or event for the person to keep in mind, such as a lunch date with a friend on Friday. First ask the person a question to determine if the memory is already in place. If not, remind them they are having lunch with Sally on Friday. Wait 15 seconds, and ask the person the question again. In the event that the memory is in place now, double the time to 30 seconds, and inquire again, continuing to increase the time and ask again. If the person doesn’t remember after 15 seconds, keep repeating the process every 15 seconds several more times before determining whether it is not an effective technique, at least not for this particular event or activity.

Both tactics are simple, drug-free techniques to incorporate into the treatment plan for a person during the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and for anyone who is searching for approaches to improve memory.

Let Hired Hands Homecare provide additional support and resources for someone you love with dementia. Our innovative strategies to care help maximize a senior’s cognitive functioning, independence, and well being. Reach out to us at (866) 940-4343 to find out more about our home care in Novato, Santa Rosa, Napa, and throughout the Bay Area.





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