Two Easy Strategies to Improve Memory for Seniors

a happy senior lady and caregiver looking at a memory book
Improve memory for seniors with simple tactics you can implement today.

As we grow older, some amount of memory impairment is to be anticipated. And, of course, memory loss is even more pronounced when Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia is a factor. But researchers are continually seeking to uncover effective ways to improve memory and cognitive functioning, and have observed some intriguing findings on two techniques to improve memory for seniors. Here’s what they’ve recently identified:

Strategy #1: Mnemonics

Mnemonics produces an association to a memory through a phrase, abbreviation, song, etc. This type of training showed noteworthy results in increasing activity in areas of the brain that are typically impacted by Alzheimer’s, producing improved retention of information. 

You will find limitless mnemonic strategies that are highly effective in improving memory. As an example, try mnemonic keywords. They are an enjoyable and creative option to memorize words in a different language. It involves choosing a word that’s much like the new word you want to learn, and visualizing a picture that brings the two words together. As an example, if you’re wanting to remember that chapeau is French for the word “hat,” you might picture Charlie Chaplin along with his famous black hat. The “Chap” part of his name can trigger the initial letters in chapeau, and the memory will stick.

Strategy #2: Spaced Retrieval Training

This strategy involves slowly increasing the period of time between memory tests, and was found to also be highly successful for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Compared to mnemonics, however, there was actually a reduction in brain activity, leading medical researchers to determine that the information had been processed more efficiently. 

Spaced retrieval training is very useful for boosting independence and lowering anxiety for those with cognitive challenges. Choose a desired event or activity for the person to remember, such as a lunch date with a friend on Friday. First, ask the person a question to find out whether the memory is already in place. If not, remind them they are having lunch with Marge on Friday. Wait 15 seconds, and ask the person the question again. In the event that the memory is in place now, double the time to 30 seconds, and ask again, continuing to double the time and ask again. If the person doesn’t remember after 15 seconds, keep repeating the method every 15 seconds several more times before determining that this is not an effective technique, at least not with this particular event or activity.

Both of these two methods are simple, drug-free techniques to incorporate into the treatment plan for someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or for anyone who is searching for approaches to improve memory. 

Let JFS Care provide further resources and support for someone you love with Alzheimer’s. Our innovative techniques to caregiving help make the most of a senior’s cognitive functioning, independence, and quality of life. Contact us online or call 213-383-2273 to learn more about home care assistance in Beverly Hills and throughout our full service area.