Memory Loss and Attitude

                      “Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  LINK TO PROGRAM

When a person approaches memory challenges with a positive attitude, it is more likely that strategies to enhance memory will be explored. Research also indicates a positive attitude can be an important key to successful aging.

When a person begins to notice memory problems, the only thing you may sense is increased anxiety or withdrawal. Rachel Naomi Remen, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom, states the organ of vision is the heart. Being open to listening, exploring resources and learning appropriate strategies helps you to walk the journey when a friend or family member has some ongoing changes in their ability to remember.

Some things to think about:

1. Fear immobilizes us and information empowers us.  While information is available that can be helpful, some people may not be ready to listen, need time to process what may be changing or have an attitude that memory loss is inevitable because it has happened to others in their family.  One of the many benefits of being open to information is that it allows for a journey of exploring whatever will enhance safety, communication and quality of life for all involved.

2. In 2002, Dr. Levy published a study that showed that those with more positive views of their own aging lived, on average, 7.5 years longer than those with more negative views.  Levy’s studies are two of several in recent years that have begun to establish a link between one’s personality and attitude toward aging and a longer life. Personality and positive thinking also may play a role in one’s physical and mental energy as they grow older.

3.  In general, studies show that people who maintain a positive attitude tend to make healthier lifestyle choices. According to a Mayo Clinic study, people with a positive attitude get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet and have lower rates of smoking and alcohol consumption.

4. Personally, I would like more people diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease be referred to a speech-language pathologist.  Many do not know the role we can play in helping with programs to maximize the strengths a person has to develop a personalized plan of compensatory strategies for communication. The sooner they are explored and implemented, the easier it is to make them a more automatic pattern.  First of all, make sure you have a complete physical to rule out other causes of memory loss and, if indicated, a geriatric assessment so you have the bigger picture. Ask your doctor for a referral a speech-language pathologist. Make a copy of this overview of our role or refer them to Memory Fitness Matters for additional information. Pass the information on to others so they can be more informed of appropriate options through all the stages of memory loss.

Tips to consider:

1. Assess your attitude toolkit. How do you start your day and end it? What lifts your spirit and helps you be more positive. Who is the person you can go to when you need an attitude shift?

2. When you hear yourself using a less positive word or statement, consider a redo  and consider switching what you said.

3. Create a gratitude list of words starting with A to Z. Years ago when I needed to boost my thinking because of some significant challenges, I began my day journaling 3 things I was grateful for from the day before. Simple things matters like it did not snow when I had a long drive, I was able to find the perfect gift for someone or I watched a program I enjoyed without interruption. After a  few months, the situation had gotten more complicated but I woke up feeling like myself again.

3. Do random acts of kindness anonymously.

4. Enlarge your circle of positive people who uplift your spirit and you do the same for them.

Focus on the people in your life and think of their positive qualities. Share those thoughts with them time to time.

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.  Khalil Gibran

Link to “Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  cable television show: Memory Loss and Attitude

Memory Fitness products by Kathryn Kilpatrick including “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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