Does this sound like you?
What’s happening to my memory? I reasonably often forget the names of people that I know perfectly well. Or I can’t think of the word that I want to use. I’m 67.
If so, you are not alone in experiencing these very annoying memory lapses!
These tip-of-the-tongue occurrences (where we lose the word or name we were just going to use) happen with increasing frequency from our late 30s and eventually become frequent enough for us to notice it. Names are, of course, a classic problem and can give embarrassing moments.
Is this a memory problem?
Those missing words – such as names, crossword clues or book titles – are not so much a memory problem; the issue is more of a processing one because, from our 30s onwards, the brain starts to process data slightly more slowly. Verbal information (such as knowledge of words or names) is stored in our language centre, found in the left side of our brain; but the sound of the word is stored in the right hemisphere.
All of our lives we have been used to having connections working instantly and at the very same moment. i.e. thinking of a word and the sound instantly attaching to it Or seeing a friend on the street and having that person’s name come instantly to mind.
Sometimes, however, the firing of the necessary neurons is disconnected – and we have a mental block. We know the meaning if it’s an often-used word, we might even have the first sound but the word or name itself completely eludes us for the moment.
People tell me that if they go through the alphabet they sometimes get the word – that is just because the sound of the beginning letter reconnects with the memory trace to the word we wanted. More likely, though, we remember the word in the middle of the night!
One of the odd things is that the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon usually happens with common words, especially names of people or objects.
What to do about that lost name or word?
Look up these helpful tips and strategies.
It’s a Mental Block!
It is important to keep working on memory strategies and other ways of keeping the memory sharp.
Why not begin your own brain and memory training programme?
Specially designed by Dr. Allison Lamont & Gillian Eadie to give you practice in the six key memory skills as well as brain challenges and tips on keeping your memory sharp.
The course comes to you twice a week for seven weeks, via email.