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Finding Ways to Keep Your Brain Nimble in Older Age

I was looking for an interesting article to pass on and found in my new issue of Mind, Mood and Memory published iby Massachusetss General Hospital this article. A study using 200 older adults and a group of younger adults with an average age of 20 were tested on their ability to recall words in various environments. The results indicated that older adults who have trouble ignoring distractions, seem to recall better than younger adults in this type of environment. Chief Neuropsychologist Janet Sherman, PhD explained that because older people don't filter out informaion as well as younger people do, they are able to pick up on information within distraction situations and use that information in new situations. Being able to retrieve seemingly irrelevant cues might be used to help trigger memory.

An example: you put a sticky note on your refrigerator reminding you to pick up your dry cleaning. You are walking out of the house on your way to an appointment and you see the sticky note on the refrigerator. You pick up the mental clue even though you are focused on getting to your appointment. A younger person might be more focused on getting to the appointment and miss seeing the sticky note and forget to get the dry cleaning.

Other suggestions to boost memory include: 1) Actively seek mental challenges; 2) break your habits; 3) use your imagination; 4) learn something new; 5) engage in mental math and 6) use association.

So there is something, perhaps, that we seniors can do better than the 20 year olds. Who thought we would find it in clutter?