Remembering Names

One of the biggest problems seniors often lament is remembering names. We recognize faces because that information has been registered in our subconscious minds, but remembering names is a different story. What’s your trick for recalling names that don’t come to you immediately? Going down the alphabet perhaps? David Perlmutter, MD, in The Better Brain Book, has an exercise that will help you to remember names immediately after being introduced and for an extended period after that. He says it should not take more than 10 minutes a day.

You will need a deck of cards and a phone book. Maybe your kids don’t have a phone book in their house, but surely you do.

  1. Each morning randomly select a name from the phone book; choose a card from the deck.
  2. Write down the first name selected from the phone book and the suit on the card.
  3. Say the name and the suit out loud after you write it down.
  4. Create a mental image of both the name and the suit being placed into your mental names file.
  5. After lunch try to recall both the name and the suit by creating a picture in your head of your names file and imagine yourself opening that file. Repeat after dinner. (If you were successful after dinner, but not after lunch, it counts as success).
  6. Do the above exercise daily for a week. Once you are successful for six out of the seven days, move on the to next step.
  7. Instead of writing down just the first name from the phone book, write the first and last name and pick one card from the deck.

Once you have mastered this exercise, remembering names should come to you easily. According to Perlmutter, the key to success is two-fold:

  • Say the person’s name out loud.
  • Visualize the name and the person and put it into your names file.

So the next time you meet this person, you’ll be greeting him or her by their name while the other person will be asking you for yours or have that puzzled look on their face trying to recall your name. Remembering names now comes easily to you. Let me know how this works for you.

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Thanksgiving 2010

Cover of "Attitudes of gratitude"

Cover of Attitudes of gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving 2010 in the United States. No matter how challenging a situation we may be in, such as caring for someone with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, we all have something to be grateful for. Sometimes it’s just conscious awareness of our surroundings that can wake us up to gratitude in our life.

A good friend of mine gave me a book, Attitudes of Gratitude — How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life. It’s a small book, but not one to read at one sitting. I enjoy reading one “thought” just before a quiet meditation. The late Ardath Rodale of Prevention magazine suggested that readers count the number of times they say “thank you” during the day. By turning our attention to it, we will probably increase the number of times we say “thank you.”

Many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional meal of turkey and all the trimmings and pumpkin pie. On CNN news, it was suggested that you use a saucer-size plate. This video also gave other suggestions to make your Thanksgiving healthier. There are so many “makeover” recipes that you can find at various Web sites on the Internet. Do you have a favorite “makeover” healthy recipe that you love? Please share it.

As much as many of us will try to control our eating, it will be difficult. My husband and I have received two invitations for Thanksgiving — lunch and dinner — so I will have my digestive enzymes handy to assist my digestive system. I thank all of you for your support and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Oldest Man and His Two-Meal Diet


Walter Breuning

Walter Breuning turned 113 this week — the oldest man in the world. For the past 35 years, he’s eaten just two meals a day. According to USA Today, Breuning said, “You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.” So, I’m passing on his message.

Talk about a specimen of health — he takes no medication except for one baby aspirin, drinks plenty of water, and eats a lot of fruit every day. He eats a big breakfast and lunch and has a couple of cups of coffee a day.

He believes his diet has a lot to do with being healthy as well as working until he was 99! Although his eyes don’t allow him to read any more, he keeps his mind active by listening to the radio. And, he’s busy talking to all the visitors who want to meet the world’s oldest man.

Here are some selected words of wisdom from Walter Breuning’s birthday speech:

  • Life begins each morning whether we have succeeded or failed or just muddled along. Life is a school to learn, not to unlearn.
  • Life is short but the influences of what we do or say is immortal. There needs to be much more of the spirit of fellowship among us and more forgiveness. The power of gentleness is little seen in the world.
  • The day will come when light and truth and the just and the good shall be victorious and wrong as evil will be no more forever.
  • Everything just is beautiful; everything beautiful ought to be just.
  • The world is neither a prison nor a palace of ease, but rather for instruction and discipline.

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