Memory training helps the elderly

A UCLA study involving residents at two retirement communities has shown significant improvements in objective and subjective measures of memory following a six-week “memory fitness program”.  

Of the 135 residents who began the program, 115 completed the 12 hour-long sessions. 

Participants had a mean age of 80.9 years and had no diagnosis of dementia. 

During the program, participants were first taught the basic elements of memory training, and then moved on to more specific techniques, including association and visual imagery. 

The program also included information on physical activity, stress reduction and healthy diet. 

The results showed that the participants, who were disproportionately white women with university degrees, improved their ability to learn and retain new verbal information after completion of the program. 

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2011