Tuesday, July 19, 2016

16 Actions You Can Do to Improve Your Memory

Be the Butterfly - Enjoy life and remember
I've been studying memory and what I can do to maintain and improve my own. My mother and father-in-law have both suffered from Alzheimer's related dementia and memory loss. It has been heartbreaking. What has been even more an issue is the effort those around them go to looking for ways to hold back or even turn back the loss of memory our loved ones suffer.

My father-in-law's memory of all children, grandchildren, friends and even his wife was completely gone in the last year, and his death in late last year was gut-wrenching. For all of that loss, we kept reminding each other that it was his last three years that were the most troubling. Not such a long period of time when we remembered that he lived to 93 in good health and gleeful about life and family.

What did he do that probably helped stave off a disease that had been diagnose early in his 70's?
  1. He was active all his life and played competitive tennis into his 70s, practicing daily when not competing in seniors tennis.
  2. He played tennis into his 80s. Then played vicariously via watching the US Open and other major tennis meets. Did you know your muscles will actually be stimulated if you watch a sporting activity with interest and interaction?
  3. He watched his diet, eating balanced meals and taking appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals and herbs.
  4. He treated everyone respectfully and with kindness.
  5. He was strongly involved in his church and spent many years with his wife as a marriage-encounter teacher.
  6. He wrote his children letters often (not typing or email).
  7. He maintained a positive attitude and encouraged others to as well.
But as I said I've been studying memory. And there are numerous ways to maintain memory even against debilitating diseases.
  1. Stay active - tennis, walking, indoor skydiving, yoga, jogging, jumping rope, ping pong - get your heart rate up and move around. Physical activity and Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Elderly Persons
  2. Eat intelligently and selectively. There are numerous foods that are said to help your body combat illness and disease - blueberries, cranberries, cherries, coconut oil, olive oil, fish, garlic, oatmeal, broccoli (I'm one of those people who think broccoli is nasty tasting, but broccoli spears don't seem to bother me) Can blueberries assist in maintaining memory?
  3. Listen to music, classical, instrumental, music from your favorite memories, jazz, new age, etc.
  4. Learn to play a musical instrument - kazoo, harmonica, guitar, flute, piano - anything that forces you to learn the musical language and reproduce it with sound. Heck, play your armpit. How Music Affects the Brain for the Better
  5. Reduce stress in your life and develop ways to combat and deal with it when it arrives - exercising maybe or the next suggestion Chronic Stress Can Hurt Your Memory
  6. Get enough sleep, not too much nor too little too often. Routine sleep habits that provide the amount of sleep your body needs can help deal with stress, reduce stress and even help you not approach stressful situations as stress inducing Too Little Sleep, and Too Much Sleep, Affect Memory
  7. Hang around positive people who care about you and enjoy your positive company Optimism and Your Health
  8. Marry the person that makes your life complete and whose life you bring happiness and security to
  9. Take vitamins (cautiously, of course. Do your research) Vitamin Bible
  10. Challenge yourself daily to recall memories important to you The Effects of Aging on Memory
  11. Write a book - you'd be surprised how demanding it is to create lives for several other people, plot out the difficulties they are going through and figure out how to get them out of the inescapable corners you back them into. Write flash fiction if you want the same challenge but on a much tighter scale
  12. Meditate - you don't have to turn your legs into a pretzel. Lay down on the couch and decompress for fifteen minutes. Meditation Benefits
  13. Simplify - I don't mean sell everything and move into a tiny house. Just remove some of the complications in your life
  14. Research your family history - keeping track of all those ancestral lines is going to work your mind and give you an alternative to think about when life is handing you tough stuff.They got through it; you will too.
  15. Garden, keep a bonzai or raise koi - being involved with something that takes time, and takes it slowly will give you time to reflect and gain strength in watching your efforts create beauty in nature
  16. Don't do everything listed above - pick out a few to add to your life (activity) and a few to alter your life (diet)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why My Yellow Dog Winks

Sorry, she doesn't wink on command.
First off, she's not really yellow. She is a yellow lab who is real-butter pale. But she does wink, and it appears to be deliberate.

Reasons she winks
  1. Cagney is the reincarnation of my dad who was a winker. Sure, I have proof. When she is very happy, she sways side to side when she does her hurried, happy walk. So did my dad. Over time, I came to grow on her. Same with my dad. By the time I was an adult, he was pretty pleased he was my father. Cagney decided I belonged to her when she turned five. She does not take instruction well. He was a died-in-the-wool dedicated self-teacher. She looks at me like she knows everything, and I'm just catching up. Yeah, she's my dad.
  2. First day she came home, she was nine weeks old. We were teaching her to wait on the rug by the door while her feet dried. I said, "Stay. I'll let you off when your feet are dry." She winked ("I got this"). She was house trained in three weeks.
  3. Today, I let her in. "All you have to do is sit there for one minute (I raised my index finger). Just one minute." She winked.
  4. I tell a joke to my daughter, turn to Cagney and she winks. She got the joke. 
  5. There is a tiny puddle of clear water on the floor. I ask Cagney and Lacey (chocolate lab),"Who drank too much water out of the water bowl?" Cagney winks. Yeah, she's so funny. She's not cleaning it up.
  6. It's late, I've been furiously writing. Cagney is half on her bed and half off. She looks like she's so tired she couldn't get on the bed all the way. I say, "So who's ready for bed?" She winks. She thinks I'm so funny.
  7. She sneaks off the backdoor rug leaving four muddy prints before I catch her. "Now I have to wash the floor." She winks. I look around. The whole floor could use a mopping.
  8. She's been out recently but is giving me the squint eye. "You want to go out?" She winks. "Aw, not a necessity, a desire." She plays tennis-ball keep-away with Lacey until they are both so overheated they can barely walk three steps without laying down. "You ready to come in?" She has just enough energy to wink.
  9. Our two dogs are laying in their usual yin yang formation. They're facing each other. Lacey is intently staring at Cagney, both sets of ears are perked forward. Cagney winks. Lacey leaps into the air and attacks Cagney's pale white throat. Lacey's lips are drawn tightly over her teeth. My pale yellow dog rolls over while being mauled and looks at me. Yup, then she winks.