Improve Your Memory: Assess Your Patterns

What are the ways you feel you keep your brain challenged? Many of you will read, play sports, take classes, play board games. Your list may include some of these and other ideas. We tend to be creatures of habit and there are a lot of little things you can do that keep your brain active throughout your day.
Research supports challenging your brain and in my memory fitness programs I suggest you need to feel like you do when the layout in your favorite supermarket is changed. You get my meaning. Your brain goes from automatic pilot to focusing, paying attention and problem solving when you try to figure where a less frequently used item might be found.

Everyone is busy but there are some simple ways to gradually shift your mindset to consider engaging in some new activities. Recently I have learned that several of my friends are expanding their horizons. One couple is going to France this summer and they are taking French classes. Another friend decided to start learning bridge in her mid 70’s. When I hear people stepping out of their box, I smile because they have acquired some healthy aging patterns. Many years ago a gentleman living in an independent living residence attended a memory fitness class and shared what he did to “keep sharp.” He takes a bus to the library once a week and spends 3 hours looking up information about something he knows absolutely nothing about. He takes notes and goes back and shares what he has learned that might be of interest to his friends.

Try different things from this list and create other ways that appeal to you. Resist the temptation to do what is just familiar. It will make you more aware, more interesting and at the same time help those brain cells of yours become more active in the process.

1. Learn a new vocabulary word each day then use it in a sentence ever once in a while.
2. When you hear a new song you like, learn the words. Explore different strategies since everyone has a different learning style. See how long it takes to memorize them.
3. If you do a puzzle, word or number game, put in the information with your non-dominant hand. Or eat a meal with your fork or spoon in the hand you do not normally use. Even better try chopsticks if you have never done that before.
4. Change your routine.  Drive a new route to a familiar place. Find a different place to get gas, groceries or other items once a week. Keep changing it around.
5. When you hear the name of a new place, look it up. Learn more details to expand your general knowledge. Share it with someone who is interested in learning new things.

Running through things because you are familiar with them, breeds routine and this is the seed of boredom.  James Galway

Quick Link to all blogs and Memory Toolkit
For more activity tips refer to Walking the Path to Memory Fitness One Week at a  Time.

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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