This is an article about your memory: how it works and how to improve it Study increasingly informs us that more group engagement delays memory loss as we get older. This is not remarkable because relating to other people exercises the memory at many levels. As we understand more about how memory functions we recognize that past experiences are continually being recalled and affiliated with current perceptions and thoughts. When the resulting associations are themselves stored for future use, the memory is reinforced.

That is why solid social interaction with friends, family and community members can boost our brain health as we grow older. It also reinforces the awareness that social detachment is a leading risk factor for mental and emotional deterioration for the aging. Recently the Harvard School of Public Health studied data from the Health And Retirement Study which observed adults who were 50 years of age or more. The subjects of the examination completed memory tests every two years. The researchers also measured the social activity of study participants based on marital status, volunteer activities and contact with parents, children and neighbors. The findings indicated that subjects in their 50s and 60s who pursued a meaningful amount of social activity also had the slowest rate of memory loss. In fact, when they were compared to folks who were the least socially active, those who had the highest socialization scores had less than half the rate of memory loss.

When our aging acquaintances say, "I really want to know how to improve my memory," it is not hard for us to tell them to get out of the house more often. Unfortunately, the high importance of social interaction happens at a time of life when people are most exposed to isolation. Declining health, diminishing traditional support systems, the growing independence of younger children and relatives and negative expectations about aging merge to produce loneliness and depression, which lead to accelerating health decline, and so forth. This is not necessary.

People who are dealing with these symptoms of aging are the least capable of helping themselves to get free of the cycles that are stealing the potential for a splendid quality of living. It is vitally important that those who care for and about them arbitrate, if necessary, to suspend the cycle of aging, isolation, depression and physical decline. This is not always easy in a community that values autonomy and non-interference. However, if we are interested in our aging population we must recognize that they are not as independent as they were, or as they think they are, or as they would like to be. We must find new ways to help them maintain their socialization opportunities and, thus, their memories. There are many ways to address the problems of aging and memory. Technology is one such means, and public resources can provide many others. Nonetheless, it is likely to be up to those of us who owe them so much to pay it back by considerately pushing them back into society when we see them wandering away.

Author's Bio: 

Bob McCluskey is a teacher and writer. He specializes in the psychology of aging. He is dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life for seniors by means of memory enhancement, improved health, technology and having fun. He has taught at every education level from kindergarten to university, including designing and teaching computer and Internet classes for seniors citizens. Mr. McCluskey is a contributor to Going Strong Seniors, a leading Internet resource for senior citizens. He invites you to click on the link and take advantage of the great information and programs available there.

Going Strong Seniors - Anti-aging Resources for Senior Citizens and Those Who Care About Them

Master Minds - Senior Memory Source