This Test Will Show How Good Your Memory Is
5 Ways To Test Your Memory At Home
Your car keys and glasses have grown legs—they keep walking away and hiding. And names! You've always prided yourself on remembering everyone's, but yesterday you forgot your barista's, and last week it was that guy at the grocery store...
Don't freak out. "It could just be stress," says Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. Or sleep deprivation, or juggling too many tasks. As you age, "your memory inevitably will decline," she says. "But it also grows more efficient."
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Unlike youngsters, whose brains struggle to sift essential info from all the fluff, the brains of aging adults are often quicker to discard superfluous stuff—that random grocery store guy's name—while locking down the important things, Chapman says.
At the same time, there are some memory issues that should concern you—and could presage the Big D. (As in, dementia.)
"If you're forgetting things that have a significant impact on your life, and it's happening on a weekly basis, that's more of a concern," says Angela Troyer, PhD, program director of cognitive health at Baycrest Health in Toronto. She mentions forgetting important meds or failing to pick up grandkids from school as two of these "significant" memory slip-ups. (.)
If your forgetfulness is starting to concern you, click through to see how you can test your memory at home.
Like many of the memory tasks on this list, you'll need someone to help you with this one.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and ask your friend to state a time of day. Now draw the clock face with all 12 hours listed, and place the clock's hands at the time your pal mentioned. When you're done, ask your friend to check your effort.
Research from the journalInternational Psychogeriatricssuggests the "clock drawing test" is a reliable dementia screening tool—though Troyer says you really need an expert to interpret your efforts.
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Again, you'll need a friend for this one. Have her arrange 10 to 20 small items on a TV tray or tabletop. They could be keys, a pillbox, a battery, a cookie—you get the idea. Have your friend cover the items with a towel.
When you're ready, have her remove the towel for 1 minute. Look at the items, and try to remember all of them. After the minute's up, have her re-cover them and—when you're not looking—remove one of them and rearrange the remaining stuff. Your job is to take another look and figure out which item is missing.
Don't let it upset you if you struggle with this one. "This test isn't meant to be a clinical evaluation tool," says Eric Chudler, PhD, an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, who recommends speaking with your doctor or health care provider if you have memory concerns.
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Using that same tray or tabletop, have your friend switch out the items with 10 to 20 new ones. Again, ask her to let you see them for exactly 1 minute. When the minute ends, write down as many of the items as you can recall.
This is another one of Chudler's at-home memory tests. Again, he says it's not designed as any kind of clinical evaluation tool. "These at-home tests are meant to illustrate the basic properties of memory," he adds.
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Video: Memory test: How good is your memory? Pick one brain game personality test | Guess who you are quiz
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