AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Old People and Their Memories

Old Lady

For old people who fear severe memory loss or forms of dementia, there is hope!

Scientists have found that there are several simple activities and mental exercises that can prolong a healthy memory. As people get older they retain certain types of memory, such as semantic memory and procedural memory. Semantic Memory includes common sense, general knowledge about the world and basic things such as vocabulary. Procedural memory includes simple everyday tasks.

However, other parts of the memory do not fare as well in old age. Important types of memory such as episodic memory, source memory, working memory and prospective memory do not function at the same levels they once did. Any loss of ability in these types of memory can lead to inconvenient things such as forgetting appointments, being unable to recall past events, inability to retain short-term memory and more!

Help Yourself!:

It is important to understand that memory loss is not inevitable.

For those aging citizens who wish to be proactive in preventing any sort of memory loss, there are proven ways to “bolster memory in old age”. Here are some suggestions scientists have made based on multiple studies:

Making lists or recording information in your phone can help you remember events in the future or tasks you must complete.

Associating information with a certain image, word or phrase can help you to recall names, dates, facts and events.

Another tip rests on the motto “use it or lose it”, meaning the more you use your memory the more effective it will be. This method of improving memory also correlates to the method of staying physically active in order to maintain mental health. Studies have shown that increased aerobic exercise or even just movement in daily life such as walking to work can improve memory. Staying fit physically can also mean staying fit mentally!

This is important for even teenagers to understand. Generally speaking, students don’t have an issue with staying active mentally. Being in class all day long and then studying at home provides more than enough mental activity. The part about staying fit physically, however, is not as commonly accomplished. If you stay fit physically all the studying and classwork you do will be even more productive and you will have an easier time remembering all of the information you are learning.




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  1. explodingllama342

    Memory loss is terrible, and it freaks me out because Alzheimer’s runs in my family (as does every other disease known to man. Lucky me.)

    This TIME article talks about how overeating may increase the risk of memory loss, which may explain why it is on the rise in America seeing as we have a major obesity epidemic.

    Awesome post. It’s good to know that my working out everyday is good for my mind, as well.

    • thephilosopher

      According to the Alzheimer’s Society, scientists have a pretty good understanding about how Alzheimer’s comes about. They have an impressively detailed list of the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s at the link below. Did you know that it is possible to have a geneticist analyze your genome and determine your risk of developing Alzheimer’s? Of course, many choose not to undergo such a procedure for obvious reasons.

  2. arthenice

    Great research, it’s very interesting that physical activity and mental health have a connection. Large binges on alcohol can also contribute to a poor memory, however, a study from univerisity of pennsylvania ( says that moderate drinking actually did better on tests and had a better memory.

  3. sciencegirl025

    Great article. I didn’t know that staying physically active could play a role in improving mental health even when doing brain stimulating games. I read this article which provides tips on improving brain memory at any age. It explains how the brains neuroplasticity– its ability to adapt and change– still exists at an old age. There are some really great tips which could help improve memory!

  4. leahna

    This post was incredibly interesting. It’s good to know that there are things we can do to help slow down or prevent memory loss as we get older.
    This NY times blog post talks about how exercise helps our memory when we’re young. People who exercised after learning new tasks learned faster than people who didn’t exercise at all.

  5. saysquad

    bg95 this is a great article! Memory loss must be one of the worst things that could happen to someone. It is amazing that something seemingly as complicated as memory loss, can be avoided by such simple things such as: mental and physical exercise. According to an article, that I found, dancing has proven to be a beneficial activity to elderly people. Dancing, as basic as it is, actually stimulates the brain by creating new pathways. For more information on this, check out the article below:

  6. hannahbanana

    Wow this is very interesting. I thought that dementia was random not preventable!! I always knew it was smart to do logic games to keep your mind moving but I didn’t know it could help my health. On another note, if someone you love suffers from dementia may provide some guidance.

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