Long-term memory loss can begin or occur at any age and can quickly progress, or it can progress slowly and gradually.
Regardless of the cause or rate of progression, there are exercises and other things you can do to help prevent memory loss or slow its progression.
When it comes to memory, it isn’t all or nothing. Different types of memory have different functions. Memory loss can affect each type of memory separately or simultaneously.
Types of Memory Loss
Word recall refers to the part of your memory that quickly and easily recalls memories and experiences without specific cues or outside influences.
For example, remembering the details of a recent vacation, the answers on a quiz, someone’s name, or the lyrics to a song upon hearing the title or artist’s name.
Spatial memory deals with the environment and location of things. For example, remembering the directions to a friend’s house, the ability to walk through the dark house without bumping into walls or furniture, and remembering where you put your car keys or other items.
Long-term memory stores and recalls information over a period of time — days, weeks, years. For example, remembering a childhood friend and other activities, recalling an event that occurred years ago such as a wedding or birthday.
A simple word recall exercise can help sustain and improved recall memory and is something you can practice alone or as a game with another person.
- Find or create a list of words.
- Read the list aloud then set it aside.
- Repeat the list of words in order, recalling as many as possible.
Start with a shortlist and gradually work up to longer lists. If you’re playing with a partner, have the other person read the list aloud and repeat it back to them.
Activities such as aerobic fitness have also been shown to stimulate the brain and help strengthen recall memory.
Everyday games and activities such as building with Legos or other building blocks, playing chess, video games with maps, puzzles, treasure hunts, and hidden object games can all help strengthen spatial memory.
Creative activities like drawing maps of local neighborhoods and floor plans of buildings are also helpful exercises.
Another activity you can do, if you can do so safely, is to practice navigating your home or a room with limited visibility such as in the dark or with a blindfold.
Regular physical activity and exercise are essential to long-term memory and brain health.
Walking or other physical activities create changes in the brain that strengthen long-term memory.
Word puzzles and “brain game” books are available in most book stores and several websites allow users to play brain games online free.
The Best Supplements for Memory Loss
If you’re experiencing memory loss in any form or are looking to boost memory, you’ll want to look for the best supplements for memory loss. Many supplements target only one type of memory or function.
However, the best supplements for memory loss target all three areas — word recall, spatial memory, and long-term memory.
It is helpful to think of memory as a muscle. If you don’t exercise your muscles, eventually they begin to atrophy. The same holds true with memory.
Take time out of your schedule, starting today, to build back your memory with the exercises provided in these posts. Your brain will thank you.