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At any age, memory lapses can occur. But we tend to get more upset as we get older because we fear we’re losing our intellectual functions or may be suffering from dementia. It has been discovered that over time as we age, there are some changes in our ability to remember things. An example is when you go on holiday with a friend or family; during a conversation, you can’t recall for a familiar name or place or even missed an important appointment because it slips off your mind.
Studies have shown that among older people significant memory loss takes place – it is not due to ageing but it might be to brain injury during the early years of life. The good news is, we can help minimise the risk of dementia and prevent cognitive decline by maintaining healthy habits, good social connections, staying physically active, eating a well-balanced diet and having enough rest and sleep.
Understanding brain mechanism
In addition to maintaining good healthy habits, understanding how the brain works help us to respond to certain reactions in the environment – from brain structure to major societal reactions. The hippocampus plays in establishing and consolidating new memories, the emotion information is near amygdala and cerebral cortex consolidates the stored memories. Understanding how and when to use these areas of the brain can help in enhancing learning ability.
Teaching a new skill to someone
To teach a skill to another person is one of the best ways to expand learning memory. After a new skill is learned, you need to practise it.
Teaching a learned skill to someone else requires you to explain the concept and correct any mistake by sustaining and improving that information in the brain.
It can be achieved when you teach someone a new key on the piano, guitar, or even the drums other than the usual keys you are familiar with.
Engaging in-memory working games
Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords or brain-training video games can improve working memory – these are important because the ability to remember and retrieve information, especially when distracted helps a great deal. Although, they do not expand other brain functions like problem-solving and reasoning, but have been found from research that they can help the brain get better at performing multitasking activities.
As a way to improve memory and success in learning, adults who practise meditation regularly had an improved memory – this can help adults manage pain and reduce feelings of stress. Even when meditation was once seen as an unconventional pursuit of hippies or the avant-garde, more individuals are using this practice to bring stability and peace of mind to their stressed-out lives. Meditation helps to enhance learning, quell anxiety and tame negative emotions in adults. It enhances mental capacity and helps sustain focus at old age, even during boring tasks in learning and memory improvement.
To be mentally active at old age, it requires a higher level of skills and education. Challenging your brain with mental exercise can activate processes that help maintain and stimulate communication among individual nerve cells. Pursuing a hobby with a mentally active job can function the same way. The regular reading; writing a life story every single day; propose and design a new garden layout; take a class; join a book group; pursue music or art can help in building and preserving the process of brain connections.
Image credit: Freepik
Onah Caleb is a research assistant at Benue State University (Nigeria). He runs the blog KaylebsThought.
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