Memory Loss and Cognitive Issues

Long-Term Follow-Up

Memory Loss and Cognitive Issues

Q. What can I do to help remember things?

There are a number of small things you can do that will help you cope with memory loss:

  • Write things down. Keep everything in a notebook and keep the notebook in the same place.
  • Pay attention. To get something into memory, you must first focus long enough to get the detail into your short-term memory. Distractions can prevent you from finishing this first step needed to remember. When something is important, stop other activity and repeat what you want to remember over and over to yourself — at least seven times.
  • Post written reminders in a place that you are sure to see (door, bathroom mirror, refrigerator).
  • Place something you don't want to forget (nighttime medicine) next to something you never forget (toothbrush).
  • Do the same thing at the same time and place. For example, park your car in the same place.
  • Trying to do too many things at once will make it especially hard for you to remember things. Prioritize what is most important and practice saying no or letting go of things that are not your top priorities.
  • If you're at a computer most of the day, use your calendar to prompt you at the time you need to do something or be somewhere, or sign up online with one of the many reminder services.

Q. What can I do to improve my memory and thinking?

Exercise your mind just as you would exercise your body. Studies have shown that fun activities such as playing chess, doing crossword puzzles, playing a musical instrument or learning ballroom dancing can keep your mind sharp. At the very least, mental activity will help you keep your mind working.


Q. Can my diet or activity level affect my memory and thinking?

Some studies have shown that diet can affect memory. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants (blue and purple fruits, for example) and low in saturated fats (fish and lean meat) can slow mental decline. Regular cardiovascular exercise has also been shown to improve memory and keep the brain "younger."

For more information, go to:
Exercise improves memory and Can diet protect memory?