Marilu helps seniors unlock memories
Belmont Village Senior Living Hollywood Hills welcomed actress, producer, radio host, podcaster and author Marilu Henner to have a discussion with Belmont Village Senior Living Founder & CEO Patricia Will. During the interview, titled “Your Memory is Your Story,” Marilu discussed her ability to recall every event in her life in vivid, granular detail due to a rare gift known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, or H-SAM. Marilu shared insights on better understanding how memories are processed to provide a more complete understanding of one’s entire life, discussed how people receive, retain, and retrieve memory, and provided strategies to support utilizing memories to the fullest extent.
“Belmont Village is thrilled to have been able to share Marilu’s engaging story and tips to enrich our lives,” says Belmont Village founder and CEO Patricia Will. “Her insights challenge us to enhance our powers to recollect, which can help aging adults, families and loved ones. This is core to our own values at Belmont Village as we seek to make aging a gift for our residents.”
While Marilu can remember most details of her colorful life, the majority of people can only recall eight to eleven memories from any given year, on average. She shared what she determines are our “primary tracks” and “dominant senses” pertaining to memory. The primary track, being the most memorable parts of one’s life, and the dominant sense, either sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch, are unique to everyone and play an essential role in unlocking memories. Marilu also introduces the different categories of memory retrieval and event APR (anticipating, participating, recollecting).
“If you figure out your primary track and your dominant sense, you can then figure out how you receive, retain, and retrieve memories,” says Henner. “Everyone can have a better retrieval system if they study how they absorb the memories, and pay attention to life’s details.”
After explaining these concepts, Marilu offered advice on helping seniors unlock memories. For someone with short-term memory decline, recalling events on their primary track is most helpful. If the loved one is a visual person, unlock their memories with photographs, if they are auditory, play music, and if texture is important, bring blankets. Constantly stimulating the brain by playing to one’s senses is key to maintaining and improving memory.
“Your memory is your story – every single thing you have ever experienced is on your emotional hard drive, and it makes you behave in certain ways, whether or not you are aware of it,” says Henner. “My goal is to try and help people recall those memories because without them, you are cheating yourself at using your life in the best possible way.”
The subject of memory is near and dear to Belmont Village as an industry leader and innovator in the field of Memory Care. “How we use these memory tools to nurture and engage the mind, body and spirit is important because at Belmont Village, we believe that as we get older, we are still living and growing and have opportunities to improve upon ourselves every day,” adds Will.