Some strategies from our 4-Weeks To A Better Memory Program
By Staff Blogger/ June, 2019
Did you know that one of the most common memory problems that adults face in daily life is forgetting names? In our “4 Weeks to a Better Memory” program, we teach participants to develop good habits that will help counter these kinds of memory lapses.
There are three basic strategies that are the foundation of most memory enhancement techniques. They are:
1. Pay attention
It’s important to, first and foremost, pay attention and focus on what you want to remember, such as a person’s name and face. Paying attention is the first step in creating a memory. When you pay attention, use as many of the five senses as you can. For example, ask yourself what the person looks like, sounds like – by using all of your senses, your memory becomes much more enriched, which will help you to process information on a much deeper level.
2. Give names “meaning”
Next, making names meaningful is a powerful way to remember them. You can make a name meaningful by linking or relating it to something that is familiar to you. Your brain already does this naturally when it takes in new information. When a name is unusual or does not remind you of someone you already know, you can ‘change’ it a little to make it sound like something more meaningful or familiar, even if your association doesn’t sound exactly like the name. For example, let’s say you meet a woman named Betty Weiner. You can transform the name to “Betty is betting and whining,” which will help you to better remember her name in the future.
3. “Connect” the face and the name
Finally, to connect the face to the name, identify a prominent feature of the person’s face. Transform the person’s name into a concrete saying or name that you can remember and form an outrageous, exaggerated image as you associate the facial feature with the transformed name. For example, Carlos sounds like car, or car load. If you identified his nose as a prominent feature, you could imagine a little toy car parked on his nose. This kind of unusual image will make a person’s name and face easier to recall.
Here are a few other simple tips for remembering names:
- Say the name out loud as soon as the person is introduced.
- Ask to have the name spelled or repeated, especially if it is unusual.
- Visualize the name spelled out as you study the person’s face.
- Repeat the name during your conversation, and when saying goodbye.
- Ask for a business card; on the back of it, write down what stood out to you about this person.
- Make a comment about how their name reminds you of someone else with the same name.
- Learn something else about the person, like their occupation. Try to associate their name with the new information.
- Say the name to yourself as you walk away, and think about your associations or images.
- When you are trying to remember someone’s name, think of as much related information as you can to the name you are searching for. For example, think of the person’s occupation, age, where they live, etc. You can also visualize the person whose name you forgot.
It is fairly common for middle-aged and older adults to notice some difficulties with their memory, like remembering names, important dates, where we put things, and recent events. Somewhere in someone’s mid-life there tends to be a decline in memory, especially short-term memory. Recall is also slower with age because our brains take more time to process information. Our goal with our memory training programs are to mitigate the effects of age-related changes and to help participants feel more confident about their learning and recall abilities.
We hope these tips will help you! We have more “4 Weeks to a Better Memory” coming up in the near future. For more information about our training program and other events and programs that we offer, visit our website at www.alzoc.org, and to learn about our other classes to help improve your brain health, visit www.alzoc.org/family-education