Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

Simple Mental Exercises That Help Improve Memory Function

Never underestimate the importance of keeping your brain sharp. As you age, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other dementia related diseases increases. This is why it is more important than ever to improve your memory function. You may be wondering: how can I do that...and is it even possible? There are many different ways to stimulate your brain. They have been found to improve your overall memory and even slow down the progression of serious brain diseases, like Alzheimer's. If you want to improve your memory function, take note! These are some of the simplest ways to do it.

The best place to start is by changing up your every day routine. Yes, taking a different route to the grocery store, reading a new book, doing a crossword or word search puzzle, or even playing a game of chess with a friend counts as mental exercise. The key here is to do something different than you normally would. Just by changing up your daily routine, you are stimulating your prefrontal cortex. This is important, as it can help delay Alzheimer's and the symptoms related to the disease.

Another simple mental exercise is sequencing. What is sequencing, exactly? This is when you arrange something in a particular order. For instance, something like 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. To really stimulate your brain, try reciting different sequences either out loud or in your head. Sequences that help you stimulate your prefrontal cortex are things like: 1, B, 2, 3, D, 5, F, etc. The most important thing is to mix it up. You can recite the alphabet backwards or just mix numbers and letters together. As long as you are challenging your brain, that is the most important part! Once you have memorized a particular sequence - do something different. After it becomes something you know off the top of your head, it will stop challenging your brain, therefore making it a less effective brain exercise.

If you really want to improve your memory function, it may be time to step outside of your comfort zone. Learning something new is one simple way to challenge your brain. Doing something like playing a new game, taking up a new hobby, or picking up a musical instrument, can actually force different parts of your brain to work. That can boost your memory and help to delay symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. So, don't be afraid to try something a little bit different.

Some other simple ways to improve your memory function include: memorizing a poem or song you enjoy, playing a strategy game with a friend, solving riddles or puzzles, and paying attention to your senses. There are many different ways that you can challenge your brain. It's all about avoiding routine - and having fun while you're at it!

Your mental health is important. So, take care of your brain by trying out some of these simple exercises. They won't just improve your overall memory function - they can also help you to avoid falling into a rut.

Dr. David Tal has more than twenty years of clinical experience. He strongly believes that medical treatment can improve the life of Alzheimer's and memory loss patients.