You enter into a room and completely forgot what it was that you wanted and freeze until it hits you. And then you realize you are struggling to find your house keys.
We generally consider gray hair and dentures as symptoms of aging but memory loss is also a natural symptom of aging and starts way before gray hair.
We receive lots of information every day, but the brain filters out most of it. The things we notice heads straight to our short term memory, for 20 to 30 seconds. Anything important or impactful moves to another part of the brain for long-term storage. The rest gets pushed out to make room for new information coming in. Emotional experiences tend to stick with us, as do activities we repeat often, like dance routines, cooking etc.
The gradual decline in memory begins around the age of 20. Other research suggests we are less likely to remember things now because the information is easily accessible on the Internet. Some researchers believe multitasking (social networking) actually impairs our short-term memory. It hurts our ability to focus on the most important information in our environment.
REMEMBER THESE TIPS!
During sleep, the brain picks out information worth remembering and strengthen new memories. Therefore one night of sleep deprivation can damage our short- and long-term memory. Regardless of age, if seven to nine hours of sleep seem impossible, a 60-minute nap can also improve memory and recall.
Exercise can improve memory and our learning ability — even if it’s just 30 minutes of daily walking. Scientists think exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus (the part of the brain that processes new information and plays a role in long-term memory storage).
Start using the mind in the ways you’ve been using the phone, like memorizing phone numbers and addresses or writing directions on paper instead of using a GPS. Try changing things up by using a non-dominant hand or taking a new route to work.
According to a study, participants who received training in the morning performed better on tests than those who were trained in the afternoon. Reviewing what you’ve learned before bed and right after waking up can also improve retention.
A memory technique called “spaced repetition” can increase retention by up to 50 percent. The technique involves breaking information into smaller units and reviewing them consistently over the course of a few months.
The crazier the story, the more likely we are to remember it! Try this technique with the shopping list: If the first word is “apples,” picture an apple pie on the table and use other words on the list to tell a tale about what happened on the trip to the grocery store.
Keep repeating a new name in your head or use it in conversation as much as you can or tie the person’s name to something unique about them, like “Dan the Digital Ninja.”
Use Calendar reminders and Post-It notes. You will start memorizing the date without help.
Create rituals and develop habits, like leaving keys in the same place every day. Run through a checklist of all essentials before leaving the house.