Memory in Later Life

Memory in Later life and How to Make the Most of It

logo_headerA seminar delivered in Manchester Metropolitan University courtesy of the Association of Education and Ageing on 19 Sept. 2018 by Dr Val Bissland, AEA member and psychology tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Strathclyde.


Memories are stored over many regions in our brains.
How do we register, retain, and recall information and experiences? 
Do we really want to remember everything or have our brains evolved to be selective?

Strategies for – getting it in (registering);  keeping it in (retention) and getting it out (recall).

  1. Focus your attention. 
  2. Avoid trying to learn too much, too quickly. 
  3. Structure and organize. 
  4. Use mnemonics.
  5. Elaborate and rehearse. 
  6. Turn it into a story.
  7. Visualize concepts (e.g. mind-mapping). 
  8. Relate new information to what you already know. 
  9. Read out loud.
  10. Sleep on it!

hippocampusA part of the limbic system deep in the brain under the cortex evolved at an earlier stage of brain development. This is the hippocampus. It is a critical component of long-term memory in humans and other vertebrates. It is sometimes called the ‘gateway’ to memory. (There are two hippocampi – one in each hemisphere, but the convention in neuroscience is to use the singular terminology.)

Watch the complete Successful Ageing and the Brain video panel discussion (March 2016) from Dana Alliance of the Brain – ‘2016 Up with Ageing’  at CUNY Graduate Center. The panel discussion includes three expert neuroscientists: DAB member Wendy A. Suzuki, Ph.D., New York University; Matthew E. Fink, M.D., Neurology, Weill Cornell Medicine; and Scott A. Small, M.D., Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Ageing Brain. Learn how to build an improver memory. Watch edited 6 min version.

Watch a short 4 min. TV interview with Dr Wendy Suzuki about her book – ‘Healthy Brain, Happy Life’. In it she unlocks the keys to plasticity that can change your brain and your life.

“At one time, most exercise studies focused on the body from the neck down, like the heart and lungs. But now we find we need to go to the brain, to show the true benefits of a physically active lifestyle on an individual.” — Ozioma Okonkwo,  professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The brain is now known to generate around 700 new brain cells every day – a process known as neurogenesis. See my blog.

BAW   Link to BAW  –

 Brain Awareness Week: March 11- 17th, 2019


A short trailer from the film made to celebrate 60 years’ remarkable research diamond.pngand teaching into the brain’s plasticity at University of California, Berkeley by Dr Marian Diamond. She identified in her research five key aspects of ways of living to retain a healthy brain – diet, exercise, challenge, newness and love. 

Are memories reliable? An expert explains how they change more than we realise. Click here to read article.

Also  ‘The Secret Life of the Brain’ (Episode 5 – The Ageing Brain, 2001)  Discoveries in neuroscience at the turn of the millennium presented a new view of how the brain ages. Overturning decades of dogma, scientists continue to reveal that into late age, our brains  produce new neurons. Scientists no longer hold the longstanding belief that we lose vast numbers of brain cells as we grow older. The normal ageing process leaves most mental functions intact, and may even provide the brain with unique advantages that form the basis for wisdom. The ageing brain is also far more resilient than was previously believed.

Powerpoint – Mem in LL 2018-compressed

Work and information handouts –

  1. Improving memory worksheet  

2. Neurogenesis

3. Healthy foods