January 1st, 2011 at 9:08 am
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New Year’s Resolution: Create a Memory Fitness Plan

by Kathryn Kilpatrick, M.A. CCC/SLP

It is always interesting to hear what resolutions people are making. Since I work with people of all ages who complain about their memory, I decided to create a seven day memory enhancement program, focusing on a different area each day of the week. Maybe this technique will appeal to you as you focus on incorporating strategies for memory fitness as well as successful aging.

If you are a baby boomer and notice your memory is not what it used to be, these practical suggestions might be a good starting place. If you are older and comment frequently about your memory glitches, this simple routine can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.

For those who may have been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, this program suggests things you can do to keep your memory as fit as possible. See if there is a younger family member or friend who would like to join you in following the suggestions in this program.

Some of us remember a time when some people focused on a designated task each day of the week. I knew a woman who always washed clothes on Monday, went shopping on Tuesday, cleaned house on Wednesday. This strategy can be very effective when it used in a memory enhancement plan. It is unlikely we are going to wake up one day and do all the things that are repeatedly suggested for brain fitness. Change happens by taking one step at a time.

This plan picks one area of concentration for each day of the week. For an entire day, you can try to increase your awareness of one specific strategy and hopefully, after a month or so, that strategy becomes part of your daily routine. Write the area of concentration on your calendar for each day or in a place where you will see it often.

Senior centers and activity professionals in independent and assisted living residences may want to form a brain fitness club using this technique. Follow my blogs for the next few weeks, print out each strategy, tell others about it, find some other people to do it with you and have some fun!

Here is the weekly format:

Monday: Create a positive mindset. Attitude matters.
Tuesday: Improve your ability to pay attention. Be in the present moment.
Wednesday: Upgrade your lifestyle choices. Better choices can improve your focus.
Thursday: Develop effective memory props.
Friday: Socialize and stay connected with others.
Saturday: Incorporate new ways to challenge your brain.
Sunday: Create a better balance in your life.

For additional information about memory fitness, refer to additional memory fitness articles.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Saint Francis of Assisi

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