Remember mastering the order of the colors of the rainbow in elementary school? Many of us were introduced to Roy G. Biv to learn this feat – one of many mnemonics we learn that, surprisingly, often stay with us for life.
As we age, some amount of memory impairment will be anticipated; and of course it is much more pronounced when Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia is a factor. Researchers are constantly looking to identify effective memory improvement tips to improve cognitive functioning, and have discovered some intriguing findings on “old school” techniques such as mnemonics. Here is what they have recently discovered:
Mnemonics provides a connection to a memory through a phrase, abbreviation, song, etc. This particular training revealed remarkable results in increasing activity in areas of the brain which are affected by dementia, leading to increased retention of information.
You can discover limitless mnemonic strategies which can be really effective in enhancing memory. For example, try mnemonic keywords. These are a fun and creative option to memorize words in another language. It involves choosing a word that’s like the new word you want to learn, and visualizing an image that brings the 2 words together. For example, if you’re attempting to remember that chapeau is French for the word “hat,” you could picture Charlie Chaplin and his infamous black hat. The “Chap” section of his name can trigger the initial letters in chapeau, and the memory will stick.
Spaced Retrieval Training
This strategy entails gradually increasing the time frame between memory tests, and was found to also be highly effective for those with Alzheimer’s disease. As compared to mnemonics, however, there was actually a decrease in brain activity, leading medical researchers to ascertain that the information was being processed more efficiently.
Spaced retrieval training is very useful for maximizing independence and minimizing anxiety for those with cognitive challenges. Choose a desired activity or event for the person to keep in mind, for example a lunch date with an acquaintance on Friday. First ask the person a question to determine whether the memory is already in place. If not, remind them they are having lunch with Mary on Friday. Wait 15 seconds, and ask the person the question again. If the memory is in place now, double the time to 30 seconds, and inquire again, continuing to increase the time and ask again. If the person does not remember after 15 seconds, keep repeating the method every 15 seconds several more times before determining whether this is simply not an effective technique, at least not with this particular event or activity.
Both tactics are simple, drug-free techniques to incorporate into the treatment plan for someone in the early stages of dementia, and for anybody who is looking for memory improvement tips.
Let Seniorcorp provide additional resources and support for someone you love with dementia. Our creative techniques to caregiving help maximize a senior’s cognitive functioning, independence, and well being. Contact us at 757-640-0557 to find out more about our award-winning services for home health in Virginia Beach and neighboring communities.