Have you ever been embarrassed because you couldn’t remember the name of a new acquaintance, not just once, but several times with the same person? How about parking your vehicle in a store parking lot to go shopping, and then having to search the lot because you couldn’t remember where you parked? Have you gone into a room to get something, but forgot what it was?
These are typical signs of the memory changes which happen as we age. In fact, there’s even a scientific name for the process; ‘age-related cognitive decline,’ or ARCD. It’s not a symptom of oncoming dementia, especially if you can eventually recall information, such as what you entered a room to get. Those with impending dementia usually have a problem remembering recent information.
Still, little bouts of forgetfulness can be frustrating and annoying. However, you can improve your memory by using the following mind games to recall information when you need it.
For example, here’s an easy trick to remember where you parked in a lot: park in a row in front of the store sign. Note the letter over the row where you parked. When you come out of the store, look for that letter, and then confidently walk down that row to your car.
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There’s a trick to remembering the name of a casual acquaintance, like a staff member at your gym or a distant neighbor. First, tell the acquaintance that you are now going to use a memory trick, so they understand what’s going on. Then start talking, using the name of the person over and over again for about 30-40 seconds. Such as, “Jarren, I’m going to make sure I remember your name next time we meet, Jarren. Jarren, I’m terrible at remembering names, Jarren. And Jarren, if I just use your name over and over again Jarren, I’ll remember it next time I see you.”
That memory trick works surprisingly well. Using such methods works like a brain game. It trains the memory to improve. I have found two recall tricks that work if I forget why I went into a room. One: look around. You may see something that jogs your memory. For instance, if you wanted a paper towel and you’re in the kitchen, you may see the paper towel holder and remember what you came to get. Two: just taking a moment to stop and think often allows you to recall the item, which you can do with ARCD. But those developing Alzheimers won’t have the required recall ability.
Maintaining familiarity is also a good memory trick. Always put your keys in the same place, in or out of your home or vehicle. When entering your home, immediately put the keys in their place. Don’t do anything else until the keys are there. Outside, if the keys are not in your vehicle’s ignition, choose a pocket to always, always put them in. Right or left pocket, in jeans or jacket, that’s where the keys go. Always.
If you’re still concerned about memory loss, here are two facts about the difference between the normal memory decline of aging and Alzheimers or other dementias: those with dementia may forget the names of relatives and close friends and not be able to recall them. A person with ARCD may space on a name temporarily, but will eventually remember it. A senior with ARCD can concentrate, plan and solve problems. With dementia, those abilities are usually destroyed.
Finally, to keep your memory sharp despite ARCD and to help slow the onset of dementias, exercise often. Medical scientists say that doing regular cardio and resistance work can reduce the risk of dementia by 50 percent. Physical exercise helps the brain maintain accustomed neural pathways through the brain cells and also make new thought paths. Memory is also dependant on a full night’s sleep. Insomnia or other types of sleep deprivation may affect your recall ability the following day.