|Mom was standing by the river’s edge, waiting for her baby to join her, who was a short distance away.|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|Little birds stopped by for seeds. Can anyone help us identify these little birds?|
The days and nights roll into one another so quickly we often forget the day of the week. But, that constitutes the extent of any memory loss we may experience. Of course, there’s always been the issue of remembering the names of people we’ve just met, but that’s been a lifelong issue for both of us.
|Mom appeared to want to show her offspring how to drink from the river.|
I’ve concluded that not remembering the names of newly met people is because we’re so busy assessing them and formulating opinions as to “who they are” we fail to pay close attention to their names.
|Down they went, in an awkward pose, to drink from the river.|
We’ve both found if we focus on hearing their name, we’ll remember it, especially if we use their name in conversation during the first meeting. That’s not always easy to do, but we’ve found it really works.
Otherwise, neither of us suffers from any forgetfulness, perhaps making us a little too confident that advancing age-associated memory loss will escape us. Tom’s mother, who passed away at age 98, had an acute memory, able to recite birthdays, anniversaries, and special events in the lives of her many family members.
|The baby tried it on her own while mom stood to watch. Giraffes are vulnerable to predators in this position.|
My mother suffered from dementia even at the age I am now, which exacerbated until her death at 81 years of age. Memory loss is heredity, and yet I suffer no signs of it approaching and pray this path of good memory continues for many years to come.
If keeping one’s mind active is any indicator of prolonging a good memory, we’re on the right track. Never a day passes that we don’t discover and learn something new. Add the task of often putting it down in writing (and photos) on this site only adds to the depth of our ability to remember.
|A few zebras meandered down the hill to the water, but mom didn’t seem concerned. Giraffes and zebras seem to comingle well in the wild.|
Tom, who proofreads each post daily and shares in the research process while I’m preparing the post, also gleans a lot of new information daily along with our many adventures with wildlife and nature.
After writing the above comments, we searched online and found an article from Harvard Health at Harvard Medical School listing seven points that aid in maintaining a good memory.
Here they are, as quoted from the article here:
“1. Keep learning
A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill can function differently. Read; join a book group; play chess or bridge; write your life story; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; take a class; pursue music or art; design a new garden layout. At work, propose or volunteer for a project that involves a skill you don’t usually use. Building and preserving brain connections is an ongoing process, so make lifelong learning a priority.
2. Use all your senses
The more senses you use in learning something, the more your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. In one study, adults were shown a series of emotionally neutral images, each presented along with a smell. They were not asked to remember what they saw. Later, they were shown a set of images, this time without odors, and asked to indicate which they’d seen before. They had excellent recall for all odor-paired pictures, and especially for those associated with pleasant smells. Brain imaging indicated that the piriform cortex, the main odor-processing region of the brain, became active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present. The subjects hadn’t tried to remember them. So challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar. For example, try to guess the ingredients as you smell and taste a new restaurant dish. Give sculpting or ceramics a try, noticing the feel and smell of the materials you’re using.
3. Believe in yourself
Myths about aging can contribute to a failing memory. Middle-aged and older learners do worse on memory tasks when exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory and better when the messages are positive about memory preservation into old age. People who believe that they are not in control of their memory function are less likely to maintain or improve their memory skills and, therefore, are more likely to experience cognitive decline. If you believe you can improve and translate that belief into practice, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp.
4. Economize your brain use
If you don’t need to use mental energy remembering where you laid your keys or the time of your granddaughter’s birthday party, you’ll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things. Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often. Remove clutter from your office or home to minimize distractions so you can focus on new information that you want to remember.
5. Repeat what you want to know
When you want to remember something you’ve just heard, read, or thought about, repeat it out loud or write it down. That way, you reinforce the memory or connection. For example, if you’ve just been told someone’s name, use it when you speak with them: “So, John, where did you meet Camille?” If you place one of your belongings somewhere other than its usual spot, tell yourself out loud what you’ve done. And don’t hesitate to ask for information to be repeated.
6. Space it out
Repetition is most potent as a learning tool when it’s properly timed. It’s best not to repeat something many times in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam. Instead, re-study the essentials after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, then every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study is particularly valuable when trying to master complicated information, such as the details of a new work assignment. Research shows that spaced rehearsal improves recall in healthy people and those with certain physically based cognitive problems, such as those associated with multiple sclerosis.
7. Make a mnemonic
This is a creative way to remember lists. Mnemonic devices can take the form of acronyms (such as RICE to remember first-aid advice for injured limbs: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) or sentences (such as the classic “Every good boy does fine” to remember the musical notes E, G, B, D, and F on the lines of the treble clef).”
Although, in many ways, the medical profession had led us down the wrong road over the decades, this article appears to be realistic and most likely accurate.
|Yesterday, while on our drive, we stopped to check out the scenery at this dam.|
In reviewing the above seven points, it’s clear we’re doing everything possible based on this lifestyle, mostly unintentionally, to enhance our memory as we age.
When I recall my mother’s dementia, I realize how limited her range of learning may have been as she aged. Many seniors with severe medical problems find themselves sitting in front of a TV screen for most of each day. In addition, many ill seniors may be taking multiple medications, impacting cognition and memory on a day-to-day basis.
|Once we arrived at the hippo pool, we spotted a few crocs.|
Several years ago, I read Dr. David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain,” which further explains how consuming a high carbohydrate diet of grains, starches, and sugars grossly impacts our brains as we age. I highly recommend this book to anyone who may be concerned with memory, regardless of age.
As a matter of fact, Dr. Perlmutter did an article on me, as shown here in this post (with photos), on how eliminating inflammatory foods from my diet allowed us to travel the world. Also, here’s the link from our post notifying our readers about the article.
|We always enjoy taking a good croc headshot.|
No, we don’t have all the answers to longevity and good health. We learn what we can from what we hope are reliable sources and incorporate what we can into our daily lives.
One thing we do know is, should we ever falter in our memories of what we’ve been doing over these many past years, we can always look online and reread every single post. That’s a perk we have gained from all these busy years, putting our story and photos together to share with all of you.
I hope your day provides you with an opportunity to engage in some of the above memory-enhancing tools!
Photo from one year ago today, September 25, 2017:
|A turtle we spotted in a pond in Zarcera, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.|