Royce Shook

2 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Ways to store memory

I have a friend who fears he is starting to get dementia so I thought I would put some tips together to help him store and retrieve things from his memory. Here are some ideas on ways to store memory. Can you add to my list?

Choose What to Remember / What to Forget – be selective about what is important to remember and what is not. Being selective will avoid memory overload.

Internal strategies are exercises that you can do mentally:

a. Read materials out loud, repeat several times – repetition is helpful. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

b. Visualization Compose mental pictures, visualize images.

i. This means forming a picture in your mind’s eye of the things you want to remember. Because we remember bizarre images better, incorporate something unusual into your visualizations.

c. Makeup rhymes (30 days hath September).

d. Use memories to trigger other memories – reminisce with someone, look at photo albums. Review the information several times and then re-tell it in your own words as if you were explaining it to someone else.

e. Relax – relaxation will clear your mind of clutter.

f. Keep your mind active, exercise your brain by reading, playing chess, doing crossword puzzles, etc.

g. Association You can learn or recall something more easily if you associate it with something you already know or remember. To recall a specific date, associate it with another well-known date. For example, November 25 is a month before Christmas. July 11 is a week after Independence Day.

i. You might recall an important date by its relationship to your birthday or by making the date into a price ($9.29) or a time (12:15). To help remember names, associate the new name with a famous person or someone you already know.

ii. Sometimes a person’s name can be associated with their physical characteristics. For example, if Elizabeth is somewhat overweight, imagine her like a queen at an Elizabethan feast. (You don’t have to tell the person how you are remembering)

External strategies use environmental cues to help you remember:

h. Organize your life. Put keys, glasses in the same designated place, and get rid of clutter.

i. Reduce noise and background distractions as much as possible.

j. Keep a datebook or calendar.

k. Use helpful devices such as cooking timers, alarm clocks, etc.

l. Compensation Some of the best memory advice comes from Confucius, who said, “The weakest link is stronger than the best memory.”  In other words, if you want to remember something, write it down.  Keep lists. Having a good system for recording information is critical. This usually includes a calendar for appointments and a memory notebook. The notebook should have at least three sections:

i. Reference material such as name, phone numbers, medications.

ii. List of things to do, including a space to mark off when completed.

iii. A section for notes or things to remember. This section can contain information from the past — Mary’s new grandson is named Sam — or for the future — a question for your doctor.  If reading and writing are difficult, have someone help you record and review the information or use your phone and speak to it. Compensatory techniques can also include writing notes to yourself and posting them in conspicuous places, writing on your hand,.

iv. Keep your lists by the door, in your car.

m. Be physically active. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain which enhances the mind and also helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

n. Take care of your health and eat nutritious meals

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