Archive for February 22nd, 2010
Posted on February 22, 2010 - by Nurse Virginia
Most people as they age start to question their memory. When a person in their 50′s or 60′s can’t find something they just had, they immediately blame their memory. Just as the 40′s are the time when the eyes change and the individual may need bifocals. When a person reaches their 50′s they start to experience increased distraction. It is increased distraction that the person is mistaking for memory loss.
Pay attention and lay down a memory
When they built a new mall by my house, I determined that I would always park in the same place, in the center of the mall outside of Penny’s. Over the years I have seldom deviated from this routine. This way I always know where I parked my car. When going to an unfamiliar mall; as I enter I stop, look around and lay down a memory of where I am. Because I realize I am distracted, if I am talking to a friend, thinking about where I need to go, watching a grandchild, I won’t really notice what is around me and where I am and lay down that memory.
Create routines, habits and systems
A good friend of mine, after losing her keys (and all the inconvenience that caused her) determined to always buy the same purse. She had a favorite purse, and she went out and bought three more of them. This way in the years to come, the pockets of her purse would always be familiar and in the same place.
Just the same as putting everything away in the same place in your kitchen. Putting your keys, cell phone, TV remote, everything you find yourself searching for, in the same place will help during times of distraction.
Decrease problems of distraction; get in the habit of doing more than one thing at a time
I seldom just watch TV, most of the time I am also knitting. Doing more than one thing at a time increases your ability to focus. Watch TV and do a puzzle, studying each piece for size, shape and color requires attention. Try to do something physical at the same time you are doing something passive.
Plan ahead and organize so you don’t feel rushed
As I age, I find myself writing more and more things down. I now keep three calendars, one for social and family events, and one for tracking bill payments and the third is at work and coordinates all of my professional obligations. I use calendars with large spaces so I can make notes. I don’t want to spend one moment, or any brain power trying to remember if I paid the garbage bill.
See Also: Aging – is it a Senior Moment or Alzheimer’s Disease – 2/12/2009
Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance