Memory

Have you ever hunted for your car?  Keys?  Glasses?  Have you ever left home without your grocery list?  Have you ever had a senior moment?  How do you know if it is a sign of future memory loss?  Do you live with or care for someone who is forgetful or has memory loss?  If so, this workshop will help.  Remembering what not to forget is designed for baby boomers, older adults, and caregivers of those with mild to moderate memory loss.  After completing the workshop, you will have practical and ready to use strategies for improving memory and protecting your future. You will learn: How memory works.  The difference between long-term and short-term memory. How memory normally changes as we age. How to tell the difference between normal aging and memory loss.  Stages of change so you can be proactive […]

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I just returned from a speaking engagement in Tampa where I discussed “Treating progressive memory loss.”  The thing to note in the title is that the focus is on treating memory –there’s something you can do – rather than treating a disease – there’s confusion about what to do.  The treatment for Alzheimer’s disease needs to be proactive rather than reactive.  The focus of treatment is to plan for a good life (everyone’s long-term goal regardless of memory) as you age even if your memory declines.  There are two requirements of a good treatment plan.  First, build memory supports before you need them – use the One Minute Rule.  Second, build a life of engagement.  The popular advice is to learn something new or buy a brain fitness program.  Indeed, I recently read a neurologist’s suggested treatment plan for a […]

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Alzheimer’s disease unfolds over the course of decades. It is slow and progressive. Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that may or may not produce symptoms and the symptoms vary from one person to the next. The good news is that, as with any chronic disease, we can manage and treat all seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease if we focus on memory and engagement in the world. This article focuses on memory rehabilitation before you become demented. The next part will focus on rehabilitation if memory loss becomes severe enough and you meet the criteria for dementia. Normal. The normal stage of memory loss is where we all hope to stay. You are independent. You have senior moments. You are engaged with life and have good initiative. You manage your own short term memory with strategic memory supports. Forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is […]

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Improving your memory is deceptively simple. Don’t forget the “One Minute Rule.” Anything given less than one minute of thought will fade from your memory. We have known this for years but as we get busy we ignore the truth that we knew when we were in school. We took notes at lectures and from reading and we reviewed them often. Notes allow us to think longer (the One Minute Rule) about the point we feel is important and they focus our attention. Additionally, taking notes allows us to review the important facts which again give more time to learn and later remember what’s important. In a world filled with massive and multiple sources of information we often ignore the fact that we learn most things well by spending time with the skill or information we want to remember. Human […]

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I recall where I was when I heard about the attacks of “9/11.” I was with a client who told me of the events and I recall my disbelief and confusion. I recall the look on her face. I recall what seemed like forever for the reality to actually set in. Finally, I recall my wife’s call and insistence that I cancel a talk that I had in the afternoon. 9/11 and other powerful events bring to mind vivid memories that feel as if they are formed instantly and in great detail. The explosion of the challenger, the OJ Simpson trial, and the assassination of President Kennedy are examples of these intensely felt memories. This type of memory was first described by Roger Brown and James Kulik in 1977 as “flashbulb” memory. These memories are stored and have the feeling […]

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How old is too old to work? It used to be easier to answer this question. Prior to 1900, you worked until you could no longer work. The social security act changed things. In 1935, older workers could draw benefits and retire at 65. When I reached the age of 65 and much to my surprise, I was often asked when I was going to retire. I have no plan as retirement is a process that unfolds over many years. Age is not the critical factor in the decision to quit working. The question of being too old to work is not answered based on chronological age. Rather it is answered based on financial resources, desired life style, need for engagement in challenges, and functional (physical and mental) abilities. I had several clients doing well into their 80s and beyond. […]

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We all confront the major myth of brain function which is that our brains work best in our youth. Even as early as middle age (40-69?) we are confronted by changes. Our brain slows as we get older. But we can’t run as fast or hit a ball as far either. The brain becomes more distractible as it ages. We can’t multitask as well and memorization takes more effort. As the brain ages (as early as 40), it has more difficulty with names and nouns. None of these changes compromises competency or the ability to learn. The truth is that the brain not only preserves its youthful skills but also develops new strengths well into middle age and beyond for many. The middle and old aged adult brain can rewire and elaborate itself. The catch phrase for this ability is […]

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There are many types of learning and memory. There is associative learning such as that involved in knowing that a red traffic light means stop and a green traffic light means go. There is nonassociative learning where learning and memory interact to allow us to “learn to learn.” The more crossword puzzles we do the better we become at crossword puzzles. There is perceptual learning. I often marvel at how well artists can learn to use space and design to create beautiful images. There is motor learning which allows us to be able to learn to swim or ride a bicycle. There are also many learning styles or types of intelligence. Some are best as visual learners. They need to see in pictures or images. They best learn and remember a new name by seeing it. Some are best as […]

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What can I do for my memory? That’s a question that I am asked many times a week. Let’s assume that your memory is not declining. In other words, you have a normal memory. There are two types of exercises you can do to improve your memory. First, you can exercise by doing memory or cognitive training. There are two types of cognitive training. You can do challenging mental activities such as computer mental training programs, do crossword puzzles, memorize phone numbers, play bridge, or learn a new language. You will improve your ability to do any of the tasks that you choose. Your brain needs these types of stimulation and they add joy to your life. However, they do not help you find your car in the parking lot or help you recall your appointments. Cognitive training is also […]

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I was on “Sound Off With Sasha” (FGCU radio) and asked how Google influences memory. In order to answer this question, I need to describe some types of memory as memory is not a unified skill but rather a large number of skills and processes. There are four basic types of memory. First, there is sensory memory which registers sound, touch, images, etc. It is very brief and cannot be trained. Second, there is working memory which briefly holds information and constantly decides what will be important and what moves on to longer storage. This is basically multitasking and is closely related to attention and works best when we are doing one thing at a time (our brains do not parallel process very well or driving while texting would not create problems). Third, is short-term memory which is not a […]

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