Improve Your Memory: Visualize

Taking a picture in your mind can help you recall information. Rather than rushing from one task to another, the visualization process can help you to focus for more than a few seconds. That can be the key to recalling where you just put those keys or your “to do” list. How good are you at visualizing?

Some of my clients with mild to moderate memory loss cannot recall even the basic facts of a short story they have read or that was read to them. Asking them to visualize the main point of each sentence, in many cases, increased their ability to recall it and at least one other fact. If they cannot state any additional information, they can often give me the correct answer given a few choices. Reading them a story which describes an event such as baking a cake encourages them to visualize what it happening and they can often easily tell what is happening if it is a familiar activity.

Even though I am a good organizer I have a tendency to redo something to be more efficient and the choice I make at the moment makes a lot of sense. Take my college transcripts for instance. Having graduated decades and decades ago, it was not top on my list of things to recall. A few years ago, something I was doing required my graduate and undergraduate transcripts and I had no idea where they were so I ordered new ones. Recently clearing out files in anticipation of a move next year, I came across my transcripts  with other related documents I have not referred to in a long time.  Since repetition is always a helpful technique, I have visualized its location a few more times.

You may be a person that relies on notes or repeating information but do not rely as often on visualizing the information. Perhaps strengthening this skill will help you in your daily routine of looking for what was in your hand a few minutes ago.

Take a walk somewhere new. Visualize the colors of a couple of the houses or buildings or something special in the landscaping. Put something in a new place and visualize where it is. Visualize the name of a person you meet written on a piece of paper. Reorganize a drawer or a shelf and visualize where you put the items not once but frequently.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.  Confucius

WHAT’S NEW?  You take pictures in your mind all the time. My newest products are a walk down memory lane. Looking up certain years or days in history, you will recall the pictures related to your memories around that person or event. There are also some memory exercises included and they make a fun gift for an older adult who will be able to share many different memories with these conversation starters.

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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