Your Memory: How It Works And How To Improve It By Means Of More Effective Social Contact And Enriched Group Interactions

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Your Memory: How It Works And How To Improve It By Means Of More Effective Social Contact And Enriched Group Interactions

Article by Joseph Windhorst

This is an article about your memory: how it works and how to improve it Research increasingly informs us that more human engagement delays memory loss as we get older. This is not remarkable because relating to other people exercises the memory at numerous levels. As we understand more about how memory operates we realize that former experiences are regularly being recalled and affiliated with current perceptions and thoughts. When the resulting associations are themselves saved for future use, the memory is enhanced.

That is why solid social interplay with friends, family and community members can enhance our brain health as we mature. It also reinforces the understanding that social detachment is a significant risk factor for mental and emotional deterioration for the aging. Recently the Harvard School of Public Health studied data from the Health And Retirement Study which observed adults who were 50 years old or more. The subjects of the investigation filled out memory tests every two years. The researchers also measured the social pursuits of study participants based on marital status, volunteer activities and contact with parents, children and neighbors. The findings proved that folks in their 50s and 60s who had a good amount of social activity also had the slowest rate of memory loss. In fact, when they were compared with folks who were the least socially active, the seniors who had the greatest socialization scores had less than half the rate of memory loss.

When our aging acquaintances say, “I really want to know how to improve my memory,” it is effortless for us for us to suggest to them to get out of the house more often. Unfortunately, the increasing importance of social interaction happens at a season of life when they are most vulnerable to isolation. Diminishing health, declining traditional support systems, the growing independence of younger children and relatives and morose expectations about aging merge to produce loneliness and depression, which lead to accelerating health decline, and so forth. This is not necessary.

People who are enduring these symptoms of aging are the least capable of helping themselves to get free of the cycles that are robbing them of the potential for a wonderful quality of existence. It is highly important that those who care for and about them intervene, if necessary, to interrupt the cycle of aging, isolation, depression and physical decline. This is not always easy in a community that values autonomy and non-interference. However, if we are interested in our aging population we must recognize that they are not as independent as they were, or as they think they are, or as they would like to be. We need to find more creative ways to help them conserve their socialization opportunities and, thus, their memories. There are many ways to address the problems of aging and memory. Technology is one such means, and community resources can offer many others. Nevertheless, it is quite likely to be up to those of us who owe them so much to pay it back by gently pushing them back into society when we see them slipping away.

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About the Author

Joseph Windhorst is a semi-retired teacher and school administrator. He has taught and administered schools at every level, from nursery school to university. He has a special interested in aging the the quality of life for his peers, senior citizens. He has recently taught classes in psychology, computing for senior citizens and the philosophy of American religion. He has also developed an online course in the Psychology of Aging.

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