Friday, January 11, 2013

Losing Your Memory? Use Your Microwave!

I still have vivid memories of a sunny Sunday morning about 10 years ago when my parents called about some paperwork and I went upstairs to hunt for legal documents. Suddenly the house filled with smoke and I realized I'd left a frying pan of bacon unattended. I rushed downstairs but failed to fully negotiate the turn on a landing and stumbled to the bottom, breaking my foot and ankle in the process. The injuries eventually healed, but to this day, I have recurring nightmares about leaving the stove unattended and burning down the house. As we grow older and our memory begins to fail, whether through normal aging or disease, we start to lose track of common items, like our keys, our coats, and yes, our cooking. That's why it's important that those who know their memories aren't what they used to be, whether through experience or a doctor's diagnosis, need to make lifestyle adjustments. One is to use a microwave instead of the stove or oven whenever possible. That's also advice in today's column by Huffington Post contribute Marie Marley on "25 Tips For Coping with Memory Loss." Cooking with a microwave reduces the risks of fires, but if you do use a stove, do not leave your meal in the making unattended. This means no multitasking! Play close attention to the job at hand and stick with it until the burner is turned off (and not left on low as I've also done a time or two). Other items on Marley's list are also straightforward, like making lists and keeping them in the same place to easy access - same for the keys we always seem to misplace. By routinely leaving items in the same location, they are more apt to be "found" later. Which leads to another useful tip (No. 20 on the list): "Make a general rule not to spend too much time looking for things you've misplaced. They may be in some strange place and will probably turn up later when you're doing something else."

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