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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Study Shows Senors Often Remember Distant Past Better Than Recent Past

I just started a new blog called "Life Story Telling" about writing life histories. With this in mind, an article at PsychArticles Direct about Autobiographical Memory that I read today about seniors was especially interesting because it says seniors can "travel back in time to relive personal events in the most distant past better than those in the recent past." As a caregiver who assists many different people, I often see people in their 80's and 90's who might remember the time they moved to a new home as a teen-ager, but not remember events from last week.

The authors studied the effects of aging on autobiographical memory on 180 people. The nature of memories over five lifetime periods were studied. The study was originally published in "Psychology and Aging."

Family members and caregivers reminiscing with elderly seniors might try using photos, historical events, scrapboooks, family photo albums and other memory grabbers. If an elderly senior cannot remember events from a few days ago, memories from early in life might still be available for retrieval.

Organizing the life history and family history chronologically in albums or a life story can help preserve the memories by providing triggers.

When I've assisted people who had Alzheimer's or Dementia I brought out their photo albums and scrapbooks for us to look at when we had time for activities. Each person is very different and memory ability seems to change from moment to moment sometimes. However, even with some people in late stage Alzheimer's they still recognized things part of the time from the albums.

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