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"I'm having trouble with my memory."


This is the hippocampus, the region thought to be responsible for consolidation of new memories.



Memory. This is one of the most common complaints I hear related to cognition. "My memory isn't what it used to be." or "I'm having to write everything down now!" Let's do a quick dive into the types of memory and ways they impact daily life.


Short term memory: This means information is stored in your brain for a brief amount of time. For example: the name of someone you just met. This is usually the first deficit that is apparent with cognitive decline (even slight decline!).


Long term memory: I like to refer to long term memory as being in a completely different file in your brain altogether. This may range from recalling a longstanding appointment on your calendar to remembering your 5th grade teacher. Usually, people report very little difficulty with long term memory.


Procedural memory: This is the ability to recall rote or learned tasks. An example is tying your shoes, or even sending a text message.


Sensory memories: This could be smell, sight, or touch related. An example might be the smell of a perfume or particular song, which reminds you of a specific person.


Prospective memory: This is recollection of the things you need to do. For instance, take a medication or call back a friend.


The reality is that all of these types of memories are important. We need to be able to remember new people we meet, important life events, and how to make an appointment in order to continue to function independently. Loss of short term memory, in particular, is often the most frustrating. Family members might blame you for 'not listening' when in reality, your brain is listening but not retaining.


So, you are dealing with memory loss. Now what?


  1. Seeing a neurologist is important to rule out an underlying cause.

  2. Following this, a speech pathologist can teach you how to utilize strategies to facilitate recall. This allows you to continue to be as independent as possible. I also teach my patients about cognitive stimulation.

  3. Exercise. Did you know that exercise can change the structure of your brain? This is a video I often direct my clients to -> Wendy Suzuki: The brain-changing benefits of exercise | TED Talk

  4. Ask your doctor to review your medications. Some medications can be responsible for 'brain fog,' which can impact things such as short term memory or word finding.

  5. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with cognitive decline.

  6. Make time during your week to socialize. This is surprisingly important for brain health!

I've added a couple more links with helpful information. Hope this helps!


Six Things Seniors Can Do To Improve Memory | Psychology Today


Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What's Normal and What's Not? | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)


Preventing Alzheimer's Disease: What Do We Know? | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)


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