Remembering More - How To Recall Memories

by Barbara Friesner - Date: 2006-12-23 - Word Count: 345 Share This!

We make memories through our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) and it's through those same senses that we recall or "trigger" these memories. Dementia--regardless of the cause--blocks the connection, preventing one cell from communicating with another, the way an accident blocks traffic on a highway. The good news, however, is that more connections you've made for an experience, the more alternate routes you'll have to recall or trigger that memory.

My mother has very advanced dementia but she can still remember dozens of old songs when the music triggers her memory. My great grandmother died when I was five years old but to this day, whenever I smell lilacs, I have vivid memories of her and the lilac sachets in her lingerie drawer. If I can't remember a phone number, I place my fingers on a phone key pad and let my fingers "remember" for me. The smell of the sea air, the sound of the wind, the taste of your mother's meatloaf, the sight of a sunrise, the feel of a baby's skin are all triggers we created through our emotional and sensory experiences.

In addition, every time we think, write, and/or talk about an experience, we make even more memories--and more triggers by which to recall them.

To be more successful recalling memories, then, when doing routine tasks, challenge yourself to be aware of all of your senses like the taste, feel, smell, and sound of brushing your teeth. Consciously add additional senses to your experiences. For example, revel in the taste, smell, look, and feel of eating something delicious and when you turn on some music, get up and boogie!

Make a point to explore new things and/or do things you haven't done in years. When you walk on the beach, notice the feel of the sand between your toes, the heat of the sun, the smell of the heavy summer air, the color of the sky, and the sound of the birds! And include your family and friends. Not only will it create fuller memories for you, it will give them wonderful memories, too.

Related Tags: alzheimers, parents, memories, dementia, sandwich generation, eldercare, adult children

© Copyright AgeWiseLiving™ 2001-2006 You can find information about Generational Coaching, AgeWiseLiving™ seminars, and to sign up for Barbara's monthly newsletter at or by calling toll-free (877) AGE-WISE. Barbara E. Friesner is the country's leading Generational Coach and expert on issues affecting seniors and their families. She is an adjunct professor at Cornell University, where she created and teaches "Seniors Housing Management" at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration.

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