Fun ways to keep your memory sharp

Let's face it. Memory issues can be terrifying.

No one wants to end up confused and lost in familiar places.

No one wants to lose their ability to remember names, important appointments and their grandchild's birthday.

I've written before about apps that have been shown to improve memory.

But after being holed up in the house for months, watching TV and playing on our phones, I think we could all use a bit of no screen time.

With that in mind, here are some fun ways to stimulate and challenge your brain, no Internet needed.

1. Memorize a Poem or Song

Back when we were kids, memorizing poems and Shakespeare sonnets were common school assignments.

But did you know this kind of focus and concentration has been shown to have a positive impact on memory for older folks?

Pick a favorite poem or song and look at it visually while saying it out loud to help you remember.

Repetition is key to remembering something, so say it in the morning when you wake up, and again at night before you go to bed.

Before long, you'll have your favorite poem or song memorized. (I'm working on dazzling Karen with a few songs. I'm sure she'll be thrilled.)

2. Play Card Games

Any card game will help stimulate your brain and keep it working.

Concentration is one game that's great for your memory and can be played either alone or with a group of people.

If you're not familiar with Concentration, here's how it works.

To start, all of the cards are laid face down on a surface and two cards are flipped face up with each turn.

The object of the game is to turn over pairs of matching cards.

If a full deck is too challenging to start, remove two of the suits, so you're only playing with 26 cards instead of the full 52. (This is where Karen says I'm already not playing with a full deck. She's funny like that.)

3. Try Brain Teasers

These fun games really challenge your mind to look at something in a different way or focus and concentrate to solve a problem.

For example: Find the Familiar Word

If you cross out five letters in this group of letters, the remaining letters (in their current placement) will spell a popular fruit. What is the word?


(If you get stuck, I've put the answer in the P.S. below.)

4. Have a Chat

If puzzles and games are not your thing, try having a chat with someone.

Researchers have found that just 10 minutes a day of talking to another person can support your memory as much as puzzles and games.

We're all feeling a little isolated these days, so pick up the phone and call a friend or loved one, for your memory and your overall well-being.

5. Switch-Up Your Routine

Try using your non-dominant hand to write, brush your teeth, hold your computer mouse, or switch the channels of your TV with your remote control.

Yes, it will likely feel a bit awkward.

And, it will take more time to do what you are trying to do.

But, when you use your non-dominant hand for tasks, you are actually strengthening the pathways in the opposite side of your brain.

Maintaining sharp brain health requires constant learning.

But that learning doesn't have to be a bore.

The more you use your brain, the more brain cells your body will generate, even when you're playing fun games.

And, experts believe that the more brain cells you have in reserve, the lower your shot of developing age-related memory issues.

So, have some fun and improve your memory. It's a win-win.

P.S. Did you figure out the brain teaser? If you’ve given up, here’s the answer: 

Cross out “F-I-V-E-L-E-T-T-E-R-S” to make the word BANANA.


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Pedro - August 10, 2020

This is an interesting article with interesting info and suggestions.
Thank you and blessings to you.

Jim - August 10, 2020

This article is great! Set out years ago to memorize The Raven. Will go dig it out and finish.

My wife and I have a Consignment store in Tequesta; our lease runs out in a couple of months and ironically a few days ago I was wondering what to do in it’s place; along came your article. I was familiar with most of the items you mentioned; jogged my memory.



Charlene Bea Lown - August 10, 2020

As we age, we need more educated info on how to protect our brains and keep them young.

Sharon Andrews - August 10, 2020

I don’t see the word in the P.S.? I see the word banana but more than 5 letters have to be crossed out??

Cindy Schiller - August 10, 2020

What a hoot…you made me think really hard on that delete five letters to find a favorite fruit…found bananas and then realized that you were literal…the remaining letters spelled five letters. It made me giggle and that was great. My Mom had Alzheimer’s and I work at keeping my brain sharp…thanks for the fun exercise!!
PS: You said you would reveal the answer in the PS but I did not see it there…that’s why I kept at it…thanks!!

Heidi Fischer - August 10, 2020

What’s the answer?

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