What can we do to help our memory?


Registered User
Aug 15, 2007
Seeing my mother slip deeper and deeper into Alzheimers I am scared for the future, I was adopted, and know of no history of it in my birth family. however this doesn't stop me worrying anyway (natural worrier!!), when things happen like I move something then 5 seconds later TOTALLY forget I moved it- - a total blank......Hubby says it because I have my head full of stuff..... with too much on my mind and therefore forget the little things.

Is there anything we can all do to help keep our minds as active as possible, any natural herbal stuff to take etc. I'm seeing my Dr to see if its related to womanly changes... (which would be young at 39), to put my mind at rest. I'm also trying to keep as mentally active as possible..... but any tips gratefully received!


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
We were discussing this, this morning, at the relatives support group, how or whether depression and anxiety can affect memory.

As so little is known about the cause, it`s really down to common sense to aid prevention, and even then, it`s guesswork.

All I can think, is fresh air and exercise, a healthy diet and a positive mind and spirit can do no harm. The rest is down to fate.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
Hi there,

I have been worrying about my memory too, having a constant reminder with my Mum and Dad, neither of them able to remember very much at all.

I have discovered an electronic game called Dr Kawashima's Brain Training "How Old is Your Brain?". It's a bit pricey to start off with because you have to buy a Nintendo DS to play it on, but the games are great fun and you can do as much or as little as you want. I have got my "brain age" down to 35 which has cheered me up no end as I am 60....

Over and out as I haven't done my "training" for today and I wouldn't want to incur the wrath of Dr Kawashima....


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Hi Kathy

I am couple of years older than you and in my early thirties while working I had to learn to rely on notes for the first time where before my memory had always been sufficient. Since having twins at 37 it has become atrocious although is slowly starting to improve again.

Since having the boys I've lost count of the times I've burnt dinner, forgotten about tea I was making, half finished things etc. and it is becuase I now tend to multi-task through having so much to do. I am frequently on auto-pilot.

Two things help me
1) Sudoku
2) If I have lost something work out when I last had it and follow the steps through to work out where it is.

However I am still burning the cabbage :p :eek: ;)

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I believe trying to do too many things at once can affect how much is done automatically and how much concentration you have time to apply to anything.

One thing I don`t do, is use the memory facility on the phone. I always dial numbers whenever possible from memory.

Every month, I try to remeber who has a birthday, before I look them up and I do Sudoku, crosswords and any other word puzzles.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I agree with Sylvia, trying to juggle too many things at once can backfire. Never mind the multi-tasking myth :).

I also dial all phone numbers, read extensively, do crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. I find jigsaw puzzles very mentally relaxing and I think they use a different part of the brain than reading or crosswords.

The important thing is to enjoy life now, stop and smell the roses, because we never know what can happen to us.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Believe it or not, I`ve just bought another R***** Cube. I could never do it the first time around so I`m going to try again.

I also bought a hexagonal puzzle for Dhiren, but it hurts his eyes so I try it, [when I have time] :rolleyes:


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Joanne, your words are so true:
The important thing is to enjoy life now, stop and smell the roses, because we never know what can happen to us
Yes, we must take care of our bodies, and minds. Everything in moderation.

Lionel was brilliant at crosswords, walked all over London every day (refused to take public transport) super mind, great command of language. What went wrong?


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Canadian Joanne said:
I also dial all phone numbers, read extensively, do crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. I find jigsaw puzzles very mentally relaxing and I think they use a different part of the brain than reading or crosswords.

The important thing is to enjoy life now, stop and smell the roses, because we never know what can happen to us.
I can't remember any telephone numbers, and only remember birthdays because I transfer them from calendar to calendar. Names have always been a problem. I really believe that stress affects the neurotransmitters. (Just my opinion, based on my own experience).

I've had problems with memorising things, with the exception of poetry, for a while. I do sudoku, crosswords etc. every day, and have no problem with mental arithmetic.

We're all different, and I'm thankful for the skills I have. I can't draw, either!


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I really believe that stress affects the neurotransmitters. (Just my opinion, based on my own experience).

yes I did a stress management course , they said about how stress can affect the memory.

My brother CPN , explained it as in :- your brain like a computer give it to much information and it slow down and can crash

when I get like that putting something down then forget where I have put it , I remember I had a stage that I thought I may have AZ , because I was so forgetful . my mind would just go blank .

I found taking time out even 10 min , laying down listening to relaxation music , clear my mind, Or I use a mantra word to still my mind from worry , amazing how clearer I can think and remember .
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Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
Hi all,i was advised by dads consultant yesterday to follow the MED theory.M=mental stimulation,crosswords,reading etc,E=excercise,a walk around the block a couple of times a day,D=diet,no animal fats,no pork,bacon,butter,etc. apparently cholesterol has an effect on the brain and reducing it can help with dementia and alzheimers.love elainex


Registered User
Oct 17, 2007
kelowna, bc, canada
Years ago I went on a fantastic course with work, where they tried to stimulate different parts of the brain - right and left brain stimulation etc.
They recommended
- plenty of regular exercise
- taking up a new interest on a regular basis
- crossword puzzles etc
- creative challenges- trying to learn an instrument, painting etc
- healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg, particularly 'black and red berries'
- plenty of social interaction


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Vitamins can help

With a great deal of research I made a list of all the vitamins for Peter. showed the list to the Research Consultant in Alzheimer's and he gave me several more to add to the list. Peter took them on a daily basis with out fail. So the 2 years that the Consultant gave until Peter went into a Care Home, he went 4 years before they had to place him in a Care Home. I would like to think that it did play an important part. on reading information from the Alzheimer's, it did show a couple that I had been using was benificial. Not a cure unfortunately, but what had we got to loose ? Christine


Registered User
May 25, 2006
why is it that it seems people with a very high Iq seem to suffer alzheimer/dementia more than others
I did read a paper that said (the higher the intelligence the better they are at hiding problems - because they fight it more) this makes it harder to spot problems at an eary stage
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Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire

I agree with everything that has been posted, but when do you all have time to do sudoko, crosswords jigsaws etc?

It would nice to be so relaxed that I could participate in trying to keep my brain working, but I find at the moment and indeed, in the past that, I am so involved in the care, that I have no time to sit down and concentrate on anything, except the organisation of my parent's care, visiting, trying to keep my own home in order and occasionally trying to run my holiday cottage business.

The business I must admit is now probably non-exsistent. I have refused rentals through lack of time and energy.

Don't mean to critisize, but would love to know your secret.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I`ve been finding I have less and less time for crosswords, etc. than I used to have. I`m also not reading the papers as thoroughly as I did.

But when I`m online, I have the radio on and find I can keep up to date with the news as well as I need to. Actually the radio is now my main source of information.


Registered User
Oct 14, 2007
herbal help

My partner's consultant, when he prescribed Aricept,told me, when I asked about it,that he would prefer that I did not supplement it with the herb ginkgo biloba. I think this preference was possibly because it might complicate any analysis of the effectiveness of the prescribed drug, because when I asked our doctor's opinion about using the herb as well as the prescribed medication, he gave me the go-ahead.
So I take it myself as well as giving it to my partner. Effective, who can say? We don't know how the disease would have progressed without it, neither do we know if our own memory has benefitted. Personally I belive it is worth trying.


Registered User
Jan 6, 2008
Hi, I'm new and have been reading the posts with interest. I read, try crosswords but I'm not as good at the cryptic clues as I used to be. I knit and have several projects on the go, lacw efor when my brain works and plain knitting for when its fogged.
I also have the Nintendo Braintraining game. I was 54 brain age last time I used it which I was quite pleased with-I'm 45- I though it would say I was 99!!

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Cinders Welcome to TP.

I`ve the utmost admiration for you even attempting cryptic crosswords, I`ve never been able to do them, by brain can only accept straightforward clues. :rolleyes:

I hope you`ll find the support you need here. It is indeed a most supportive and friendly site so keep in touch.

Love xx


Registered User
Nov 10, 2007
London, UK
Hi I am 45 years old and quite concerned about my memory.
Memories of past events are a bit fuzzy.

I recently asked my 85yr old father in law (who is very sharp) for some advice.

He sent me the following exercises.

I have fun trying them out with young and old people. My 11 year old daughter and 80 yr old uncle in particular.

Try them and let me know how it goes.....
Measuring up
From your memory
• Draw a standard size postage stamp
• A line as long as your foot
• A rectangle the size of your mobile phone (or phone receiver)
• A rectangle the size of your credit card (or a business card)
After making the drawings compare with actual objects to see how accurately you perceive these ordinary objects you see daily in your life

Backward spelling
Choose a book
• Select 5 four letter words
• Select 5 five letter words
• Select 5 six letter words
Begin with your four letter list. Glance at the first word – turn away – spell it backwards out loud. Do this until you have spelt all words. Try bigger words

Even handed
• Take a piece of paper.
• Pick up a pencil in each hand.
• Write your name using both hands at the same time
• Use a mouse and turn pages of a book/newspaper at the same time

A game to play – Hold a paper on your forehead - On it write your last name with your left hand if you are right handed or your first name with your right hand if you are left handed.

TV tricks
When listening to an interview make a note of the No. of time the interviewer goes umm!
If you hear an unfamiliar word note it down and check it in the dictionary
Watch the news and when it is over try and recall all of the topics that were covered.

Mental Gym
• Think of a number and keep doubling it
• See how high you can go
Recite numbers from 1 to 100
• When you come across a number divisible by 3 – raise your left hand
• When you come across a number divisible by 4 - raise your right hand
• When you come across a number divisible by 3 and 4 – clap your hands
• When you come across a number divisible by 5 – stamp your feet

Daily Brain Boosters
Practise powers of observation. Example: Do you remember how many seconds you have to wait at certain traffic lights?
• Keep a diary for recalling what happened during the day
• Learn to play an instrument (your accordion)
• Expand your vocabulary. Learn a new word each day
• Read
• Explore the internet
• Play games – Bridge, Scrabble, Chess, Crosswords, Jigsaws, Puzzles

Sharpen you mind by splitting it down in the middle• Place a clock with a second hand directly in front of the TV
• Switch on TV
• Focus your attention on the movement of the second hand for 2 minutes without letting the TV distract you

Creative tension
If you feel your mind starts to wander when you try to concentrate
• Adopt an unfamiliar body posture
• Change the way you place your legs
• Alter your facial expression
• Tighten abdominal muscles or leg muscles
This will stop your body from getting lazy and makes it easier to keep your body alert

Improve your reaction times
Avoid dithering. Mentally rehearse how you would respond in certain likely situations. This way you can respond with speed and confidence.
Do speed reading
Set a timer to 1 minute use a pencil to cross out every “t” in a paragraph.
Now cross out “c” in the next paragraph
Play memory games. Matching cards or pictures
Time yourself on how many t’s can you find on a page. Can you improve your previous score?

Upside down
• Get used to using your watch wearing it upside down or on the opposite wrist
• Start reading a few sentences upside down. Gradually move to whole paragraphs.
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