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New Year's Memory Tips

As many of us begin our countdown to the end of year we start to spend parts of our day reflecting on the month’s past. Whether it was looking through pictures or videos we took throughout the year, we tend to spend little parts of our day reflecting on what we learned, how we’ve grown, how we’ve failed, or some of our most favorite memories.

When it comes to memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementias, they can cause problems with short-term memory making it difficult to remember events over the past year. In addition, those types of disorders can lead to repetitive behaviors, like asking the same question or saying the same things over and over.

So, what can we do to try to improve memory about the past and the future? Here are a few ideas that may be worth considering:

1. Memory Books: The purpose of the Memory Book is to provide a record of the individual's personal history. This can be especially helpful as the disease progresses and memory loss increases. Creating a memory book for people with memory disorders can be beneficial in helping them remember useful pieces of information and give them an excuse to look back.

2. Go for more walks: If you think intense aerobic exercise such as running, swimming laps, playing basketball is too ambitious right now, just start moving—even if it’s just taking walks every day. Any physical exercise or activity is very beneficial to brain health and is better than sitting around or saying you’re going to start tomorrow. Start by walking around the house or walking to the end of the road or end of your driveway and then go a little bit further each day.

3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditate: The physical and psychological health of the brain are one and the same, so for the New Year, consider taking up a practice of mindfulness (living in the moment) or meditation. Research has shown that meditation and mindfulness can improve attention and focus as well as help us better regulate our stress response. In turn, this can stimulate your brain.

4. Eat Healthier: One of the typical New Year’s Eve resolutions is to eat better but this is one that should really be followed through with as it can also benefit brain health. The brain uses a lot of the body’s energy, so it requires quality fuel. Therefore, your brain needs a well-balanced diet in order to function well. Research has suggested that a plant-forward diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, which includes seafood, fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seafood, and some healthy oils can provide the brain with the quality food it craves.

5. Repetition: The old adage of “practice makes perfect” is true to a certain point. Repetition can create memory. If you are doing the same activities again and again, you get better at those activities.

So, enjoy the New Year’s holiday with those you love. Be sure to include them in your celebrations, let them appreciate what makes them happy, and tell them this New Year is another opportunity to show them how much you care.

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