The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in eight Americans over age 60 complain of worsening memory loss. The problem may be related to a medical condition, emotional problems, cognitive impairment or simply the indignities of aging, but it’s distressing regardless of the cause.
One way to preserve and possibly enhance memory is to proactively revisit your past. Reminiscence therapy is one technique option, with uses ranging from mental health interventions to memory care in nursing homes. But sometimes, simply committing your life experiences to paper (virtual or otherwise) can also be helpful and even therapeutic.
A variety of research studies have explored the health benefits of writing. The American Psychological Association, for instance, published a study indicating that expressive writing reduces “intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events,” allowing for better coping and improved working memory. Additionally, work by neurologist Judy Willis MD finds that reflective writing, when well guided, may be a source of conceptual development and stimulate the “brain’s highest cognition.”
Whether you or someone you know is impacted by a memory deficit, or you’re simply seeking a way to tell your own story for yourself and your family, here are five simple strategies for preserving and sharing your memories in writing. [Read more…]