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Try These Smart Strategies to Preserve Your Memories

Chess piecesIt’s never too early or too late to take action to protect your brain and reduce the possibility of getting a memory disorder.

  • Take Care of Your Heart: Do something every day to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. The same things that increase the risk of heart disease appear to also increase the risk of the memory related problems.
  • Reduce Your Levels of Stress
  • Engage in Intellectually Stimulating    Activities: Complete puzzles, play board games, or attend lectures.
  • Keep Learning:  Learn something new every day—it stimulates the brain.
  • Socialize: Volunteer, travel, join clubs or get together with friends and family to keep your brain active.
  • Stay Physically Fit: Exercise!

Feature Story

Health Center Today, November 18, 2009

Memories Can Last a Lifetime

By Chris Kaminski

Looking at photographs or certain objects can bring back memories of special occasions or past events. As you age, you may experience some amount of forgetfulness. For example, you may forget where you put your glasses or what you had for dinner the night before or the name of a book you just read. This type of short-term memory loss is normal because as you get older, the retrieval system in the brain for recent events slows, making it more difficult to remember as quickly as you did when you were younger.

What are the Warning Signs?

How do you know that the amount of memory loss you are experiencing is normal? When memory loss is accompanied by a deterioration of thinking ability and behavioral changes severe enough to interfere with daily activities, there may be a memory disorder present. Some of the early warning signs include:

  • Repeatedly asking the same question
  • Forgetting important events like the recent birth of a grandchild or death of a close friend
  • Repeating the same story, word for word
  • Forgetting how to cook, clean or perform any activity that was previously done with ease
  • Getting lost in familiar surroundings or misplacing belongings

When to Seek Help

If you think you are having problems with memory loss, should you seek medical intervention? "If you’re noticing that your memory is quickly getting worse, or if those close to you, such as family or friends, express concern about your memory, consider getting an evaluation," says geriatrics specialist Dr. Patrick Coll. "These symptoms may be indicative of an early progressive memory problem or may be caused by a potentially reversible cause of memory impairment, such as depression or even a vitamin deficiency."

The James E.C. Walker Memory Clinic

At UConn Health Center, the James E.C.Walker Memory Clinic provides a full range of services for individuals who are concerned about memory loss and those already diagnosed with a memory disorder. The Walker Memory Clinic provides a complete evaluation to determine the cause and treatment for memory loss. "Early diagnosis and intervention is more important than ever when it comes to treating serious memory disorders," says Dr. Coll. "Patients and their families should get an early assessment, treatment, care, and education to continue living an enriching life."

For more information about the Walker Memory Assessment Program or to schedule an appointment with a UConn Health Center physician, please call UConnLink at 800-535-6232 to speak with a member of our physician referral and information service.