Can memory be retained with Aging

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Every year on July 22nd, world brain day is celebrated worldwide. the goal of this day is to bring awareness about the importance of brain health as it is a crucial part of our wellbeing.

The brain is one the largest and most complex organs which helps function in different cognitive processes like thinking, memory, knowing, and remembering.

Memory is essential to all our lives. Without memory, we cannot carry on with our daily life. Memory is a mental process that has the ability to store millions of data, to retain and recall information concerning daily life. A good memory is a valuable skill. If you have good memory your quality-of-life increases. If your memory declines your quality of life will also decrease. Having a good memory is important in life from learning to applying the knowledge in present and future.

Causes for poor memory

Normal aging can cause poor memory or forget but cannot lead to drastic memory loss. Such cases can be due to other factors given below

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  • Head injury – A head injury can cause memory problems.
  • Alcoholism – Alcoholism can lead to impairment in cognitive skills.
  • Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism also called an underactive thyroid gland can result in forgetfulness and other mental process.
  • Brain disease – Alzheimer, dementia can cause memory problems that interfere with thought, memory, and movement.
  • Emotional distress – Emotional distress (stress, anxiety and depression) can affect on memory like forgetting and being unable to think.

It is believed that memory starts declining with growing age. Memory is like a muscle. The more it is used, the better it gets.. People who are aging can overcome this by giving plenty of brain exercise.

There are some tips and techniques to retain and enhance the process of recalling information.

  • Chunking – chunking is a process of breaking down large pieces of information into chunks or groups

Ex – 187453 can be chunked as “187” or “453” this becomes easy to recall

  • Musical/ rhymes Mnemonics – This technique helps in encoding information using music. Information can be memorized in a form of song/rhymes.

Ex – A, B, C, D song

  • Acronyms – Acronyms is a word formed using the first letter of the thing

Ex – To encode the ‘’colors of rainbow’’ can be recalled as an acronym as “VIBGYOR”

  • Train your brain – Just as physical activity helps to be physically healthy, mental activities can help build up memory strength. Exercise your mental skills by involving in mind games, sudoku, chess, and even mobile games which enhance memory.
  • Exercise – Engaging in physical activity not benefits your physical health but also mental health.
  • Eat well – One of the reasons for good memory is healthy food. Including healthy food in your diet can help improve your memory. Veggies, fruits, dry fruits (almond, walnut), whole grains, healthy fats (fish, nuts, olive oil).
  • Get enough sleep – It is important to receive approx. 6 -7 hrs. of sleep for an individual. sound sleep can boost the quality of memory.
  • Get organized – Organizing can also help in retaining memory. Common methods like putting a sticking note, keep to – do list, keeping thing in their respective places (bills, keys,), note down important dates in a dairy.

Authors:
Dr. Bheemsain Tekkalaki consultant Psychiatrist
KLE’S Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital Belagavi / Sumana Psychiatry Center Belagavi

Aishwarya Patil
Clinical psychologist, Sumana Psychiatry Center Belagavi

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