Forget Me Not! Your Memory
Every one of us is exposed to a unique world full of sensory information starting from those first moments at birth. As we get older in years, some of our conjured up images from childhood memories might include highly emotional experiences, such as that very first stolen kiss on a movie date, ecstatic family reunions after years of study abroad, or simply reminiscing on inhaling that first deep breath of seawater aroma at an ocean side resort.
Most of us would likely agree that we’d love to keep those fondest memories not just close to our hearts as we age, but also vividly alive in our minds to generously share and enjoy with those closest to us. For it is in these treasured memories, however simple they may be, where we find the magical qualities giving richer meaning and vibrancy to the narrative of our individual life stories. Few, if any, will deny that our sense of well-being in old age is greatly impacted by how effective our memory recall is. So if indeed we are what we remember, what happens if our memories are lost to the fog of dementia at old age?
However, memory is not just about reminiscing on our life experiences when we reach the golden years. It’s what makes it possible for all of us to function on a daily basis without even having to give memory use much conscious thought. That changes of course when we have our hands full of shopping bags with toddlers in tow and can’t find the car in the mall’s underground parking garage! By then we know our short term memory recall could benefit from some fine tuning.
Even so, as much as occasional memory lapses can be experienced by people of all ages, with some being both inconvenient and even embarrassing, we shouldn’t be afraid that every slip is necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Our memories take shape in a variety of forms. To the extent we may understand that memory means the storage of information, depending on what information is being stored and for how long will determine what type of memory is being used.
The primary categories of memory types are short-term memory (also known as working memory) and long-term memory. Both categories (short term and long term memories) can weaken due to age and clinical conditions that impact memory.
The conversion of short-term memory to long-term memory requires the passage of time. This process allows it to become resistant to interference from competing stimuli or interfering factors. This time-dependent process of stabilization, in which our experiences achieve a degree of permanency in our memory banks, is known as “consolidation.”
To discover how long-term memories have consolidated in your brain, take a stroll down memory lane: Find out now
Keeping one’s memory in peak shape is a multi-faceted activity that depends on a broad array of factors. Remember that the brain’s process of aging starts in our 20s. As we age we need to exercise our brain in addition to its basic functional needs such as physical exercise, healthy diet, sufficient sleep and consistent exposure to positive stimuli. Using BrainHQ, our clinically proven and targeted cognitive training system, is essential to one’s good brain health!
Please visit www.dynamicbrain.ca/zoomermedia to learn about BrainHQ, and try a free exercise.
DynamicBrain is the Canadian partner of Posit Science Corporation providing Dr. Merzenich’s brain fitness program, BrainHQ, in English and French.