Cultivated Memories

Sorting through some of our dad’s things recently, my sister and I reminisced over cherished memories. With decades of shared history, we’ve cultivated memories of all kinds. But some pictures or items we were unsure of-why did Dad choose to save this? It clearly held importance to him, but we didn’t understand why because he didn’t share it with us. As I helped Dad with his memory, especially in his waning years, I learned more about his life. Even with his limited speech, he shared some cultivated memories which became a treasured gift.

Our memory is unique to each of us and is a form of our identity. It’s one of the reasons why I am passionate about memory wellness, so we preserve that part of our identity for as long as possible.

As we age, it’s natural to look back, explore, and cultivate our memory. It cements our identity as we reminisce and examine our lives. But this also helps those we love as we share our memories and more of who we are. It’s about the celebrations, the happiest, and best of times. But it can also be about a regret, road not traveled, or choice not taken. Yet often, it’s the simplest of memories we cherish the most. Let’s not miss them and the ability to share them because we haven’t tended to our memory wellness as we age.

How to Cultivate Memory Wellness

There are three types of daily choices we make regarding memory wellness. Let’s briefly review them to make better decisions and cultivate memories. Click the links to learn more about each topic.

  1. Exercise-Our brains and bodies need exercise daily. The adage “use it or lose it” applies to both. When we activate our bodies and minds, we have more strength and physical and mental ability. (I’m working on a new brain exercise workbook coming soon to help!)
  2. Eat-The food we consume fuels not only our bodies but also our brains. A diet of less meat, more fish and plant protein, dark fruits and vegetables, and whole grains will keep both our mind and body healthy. Let’s fuel well!
  3. Manage-The intangibles of life-our overall health, sleep, stress, attitude, and socialization all play a factor in our memory wellness. How we manage each of these impacts how well we remember. Let’s pay attention to all of these and manage them well.

Our memory is our identity. Let’s cultivate a healthy one not only for ourselves but also for those we love. When we create and then share those cultivated memories, we give ourselves and those we love a gift that lives long past our lifetime.

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