Tune Up Your Memory. Overview of course. A Few Statistics 2/3/2015

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1 Tune Up Your Memory Michelle Swantek Certified Geriatric Wellness Instructor MorningStar Senior Living Boise Overview of course How Memory Works How the Brain Works Use It or Lose It Nutrition and Exercise Mood, Stress, and Sleep Putting it all together! A Few Statistics Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects approximately 5 to 10 % of all adults over the age of 65. For those over the age of 85, the prevalence increases to nearly 50%. Nearly 1/2 of community dwelling older adults are concerned about declining memory. Over five million older adults in the U.S. suffer from AD Ten million older adults suffer from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or other more severe disorders affecting memory. 16% of people with MCI develop Alzheimer s Disease each year. 80% of people with MCI will develop AD within six years (Petersen et al., 2005). 1

2 The Problem Many independent older adults are not getting enough cognitive stimulation. Many independent older adults, regardless of health, are forced to move to assisted living facilities when their cognitive abilities deteriorate to the point of requiring additional care. Many ALF residents are forced to move to nursing homes when their cognitive abilities deteriorate to the point of requiring additional care. New Hope Older adults grow new brain cells or neurons, by a process known as neurogenesis. Neurogenesis occurs in the adult hippocampus, olfactory bulb, striatum and possibly in other parts if the brain. How The Brain Works How we make, store and retrieve memories What happens to the brain (and memory) as we age Why do cognitive and memory enhancement activities 2

3 Neuroanatomy Four lobes or major sections of the brain Specific functions associated with each lobe AND often to specific hemispheres (or sides of the brain) The memory exercises are designed to exercise specific parts of the brain Left side Right side Left side controls the right side and visa versa Left temporal lobe is largely responsible for controlling language 3

4 Frontal Lobes Most important part of brain: they control thinking, attention, and general cognitive ability Responsible for planning, problem solving executive functioning Paying attention These abilities slowly decrease with age Attention Driven by the ability to inhibit More Hope Older adults can make new connections and rewire their brains. The organization and connection among neurons is more important than the number of neurons. What causes us to make and maintain connections among neurons? More proof 4

5 Exercise Use it or Lose It! Exercise is the Key Older adults can improve their memory ability with regular cognitive exercise. The Use It or Lose It theory is now widely accepted by scientists. The Reserve Hypothesis is consistent with the Use It or Lose It theory, in that increased neuronal connectivity will lead to better functioning. How Memory Works Sensory Short Term Memory Long Term Memory 5

6 Short Term Memory Primarily uses an auditory code The longer it takes to say the word the more room it takes up Millers Magic Number: 7 plus or minus 2 Long Term Memory Rehersal Procedural Memories Semantic Memories Episodic Memories Encode Store Retrieve Three Memory Processes 6

7 Bell Apple Table Glass Chair Airplane Camera Hammer Beetle Visual Memory 7

8 Forget me not challenge chest chocolate scissors screw table cushion cord bucket roof lock Write them down 8

9 Forget me not Method of Loci Means place or location Involves taking a route that is familiar to the learner and placing each item with in that route to remember them Lets look at the words again -- visualize them in that familiar route to recall later Source Confusion Inattention Decay Prior Knowledge Interference Why do we forget? Demonstration In a moment, you will see a list of words. Please read the color the word is written in, not what the word says. Read the first column, then the second, then the third, and finally the fourth. Example: RED say Red Example: GREEN say Red Please loudly state the color the word which is printed. When you are done with all four columns, please raise your hand. 9

10 READY? READY? 10

11 What Happened? Why is it more difficult to read the color of the ink when that color doesn t match the color that is spelled? The difficulty occurs because reading is an automatic behavior. The act of reading the word must be inhibited, however as we get older we often develop a slightly decreased ability to inhibit doing some behaviors and this can negatively affect one s ability to make new memories. When making new memories, we need to inhibit attention towards irrelevant stimuli or thoughts and attend to the to-be-remembered material. Pay Attention It sounds obvious and possibly a bit condescending to state this, but the most important factor in creating new memories is to PAY ATTENTION If you want to maximize your ability to pay attention and maximize new memories, you must minimize the distracters in your environment 11

12 Class Format Begin with fact of the day Review homework but don t spend too much time, you only have an hour Each of the activities should take about 3-5 minutes. All activities need to practice attention and inhibition. Memory Exercises The memory exercises are designed to exercise specific parts of the brain Two fundamental principles to boost memory: -attention -association Understanding how these principles work together can help improve your memory Let s Practice Buzz game Word/verb generation Newspaper activities Ping, pang, pong Creative Brainstorming Cartoon Captains Sudoku Touch activities Split words Alphabetize A-Z activities 12

13 Memorize states and capitols Pictionary Basic colors in Spanish Activities Presidents we (in liked order) Scattergories On the Dot (game available amazon.com) Taboo Mad Gab Quick Wit (amazon.com) Cranium Nutrition and Memory Antioxidents Good Fat vs. Bad Fat Stress and Memory Good Stress Motivates Increases arousal which may increase attention to a task and can increase performance Biology of Stress Release of cortisol: weakens immune system, increases blood pressure, depresses mood Affects the life expectancy of cells Bad Stress 13

14 Stress and Memory Stress causes interference Blocks attention Daily stressors and Memory Ways to reduce stress Exercise Yoga Meditation Progressive muscle relaxation Deep breaths Reduce exposure to stressful situations Ways to improve sleep Keep regular hours Exercise everyday Don t drink too much alcohol Avoid caffeine and nicotine Take a nap Unwind in the evening Don t go to bed starved or stuffed 14

15 Websites and books Brainbashers.com Brainden.com Rinkworks.com/brainfood Teacher websites (5 th grade level) The Everything Giant book of Brain boosting puzzles Dell Variety Puzzle books Easy crosswords (large print) Resources Train the Brain by Dr. Winningham Supercharge your Memory by: Corinne L. Gediman and Francis M. Crinella, Ph.D. Geriatric Wellness Instructor Training 15

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