Are you constantly forgetting things?
Sorry, what was the question?
Okay, perhaps that’s a little extreme, but if you’re like most people, you no longer have the head for faces, names, and details that you once did. As we get older, it takes us a little longer to learn new things, and we forget what we’ve learned a little more easily.
So is it really true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Of course not. There are tips that can help improve your memory at any age.
My teenage nephew can study for a test–and later ace it–with his Ipod playing in one ear, the television going, one eye on the stove where he’s supposed to be watching the mashed potatoes, and the other eye on his younger brother. If I tried to do that I couldn’t tell you the subject, let alone any of the facts, that I had studied.
The older you get, the more important it is to focus on what you’re trying to learn. Try to do away with other distractions. Turn off the television and ban noisy dogs to the back yard.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
An old joke goes that it’s bad to be redundant and repetitious, and this may be true for most things in life, bur memorizing new information is not one of them. The more often you see it, do it, or hear it, the more likely it is you’ll remember it.
Use Several Different Mediums
Everyone has their favorite style of learning, and you should honor yours, but it helps to use several different mediums in your learning process. For instance, read the information silently (see it), read it aloud (hear it), and then attempt to follow the instructions (do it).
It’s been more than thirty years since I learned that the word mendicant meant “beggar.” I still remember it because of a word association I created in my mind. I was reading a book about a rich girl named Mindy, and used the pneumonic, “Mindy can’t be a beggar.” Silly, but it worked.
Perhaps you can associate what you’re trying to remember with a color, a play on words, a powerful scent, or anything else that will jog your memory.
Use It Or Lose It
Make an effort to exercise your mind every day. Do a crossword puzzle, play a game of Trivial Pursuit, write poetry, read a book. Just like a physically fit body will respond better to a physical challenge, a fit mind will be more likely to remember what you want it to.
When It’s Time To Get Help
Some illnesses like Alzheimer’s attack the brain and destroy memory, and no number of memory tricks will help. However, when these conditions are caught early, medications and lifestyle changes can help delay the progression of the disease. So, if you find yourself frequently forgetting things that you should remember, like your spouse’s name, losing everyday items and not being able to find them on a regular basis, or becoming disoriented and lost in familiar places, it’s time to find a doctor.