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posted: 6/9/2014 4:15 PM

Educational psychologist provides tips for better memory, brain function

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  • Linda Sasser, Ph.D, presented "Healthy Brain, Healthy Memory," at Windsor Park, a a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community administered by Covenant Retirement Communities.

      Linda Sasser, Ph.D, presented "Healthy Brain, Healthy Memory," at Windsor Park, a a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community administered by Covenant Retirement Communities.

 
C. Claxton

Windsor Park, a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, learned they can counter forgetfulness by implementing simple steps suggested by educational psychologist Linda Sasser, Ph.D.

More than 100 guests attended Sasser's presentation of "Healthy Brain, Healthy Memory." Windsor Park Executive Director Karen Larson said, "Linda reminded us that we have to flex our brain muscle to keep it healthy and that we're never too old to improve our memory. "

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Sasser, a 25-year educator, urged attendees to first take care of their brains by taking care of themselves. Get plenty of exercise and sleep; socialize regularly; eliminate trans fats in your diet, and increase omega-3s and antioxidants; be positive; pray and/or meditate; and expose your brain to novel and complex ideas every day.

Next, she said, "You can learn to remember names, numbers and even where you placed your car keys the day before by following the simple acronym PAVE:"

P: Pay attention. Consciously select what you need to focus on.

A: Associate. Relate information to something you already know.

V: Visualize. Form mental pictures of the information you want to remember. Make images concrete: something you can hear, taste, smell or feel.

E: Elaborate. Process the information you want to remember more deeply by organizing or alphabetizing the items, creating a story, or focusing on the meaning and relating it to something else.

People can better remember names by repeating them out loud and making meaningful associations or concrete images to connect to a feature of the person, Sasser explained. "You could focus on Derek's black beard and think of the rich black oil coming from an oil derrick, or imagine a cow who has lost his skis to recall 'Laskowski.' Use alliterations, like 'Tall Tom' or 'Round-faced Rose.'"

She also offered tips to help remember numbers. Some of them are:

• Chunk: Divide longer numbers into more manageable groups of digits.

• Visualize: Pause and take a mental picture of the number; envision the number as bright red against a white background.

• Recode: Try to form a word or phrase by correlating the numbers with letters on the phone's keypad.

• Use a semantic system: recode 12 as eggs or 5280 as the number of feet in a mile.

• Convert numbers to a phrase: a license plate of BC1216 could be recalled as born Carey 12/16, especially if that's Carey's birthday date.

Sasser has an M.A. and Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a former professor of education at Judson University, Elgin, Ill. and professor of psychology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.

On Thursday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m., Bopology will perform swing, jazz and S

inatra-style tunes at Windsor Park's Twilight on the Terrace series. To RSVP for this event or receive additional information about Windsor Park, please call 877–836-5664 or visit www.WindsorParkIllinois.org.

About Windsor Park

Windsor Park, a faith-based, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, is located at 124 Windsor Park Dr., Carol Stream, Ill. It is administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit senior services providers. Covenant Retirement Communities serves 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities nationwide and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on Windsor Park, visit www.WindsorParkIllinois.org.

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