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Tricks To Help With Senior Memory Loss

I have been writing stories since my children were little. I included them in the stories and they learned to read and love it.

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We All Age

We are growing older by the minute and that means many things start to fail. One of the most frustrating ones is when you can't remember like you used to do. You could listen to a list of things and later remember all of them; but, as you age so does your memory. Like many elders, we can find ourselves forgetting dates, walking into a room and forgetting why we went in, or in the middle of a conversation forgetting what you were talking about. I call those moments Senior Moments, and below are some tricks that I have developed to help me remember.

Fool Your Brain

I noticed that if I changed something small, like turning a pill bottle upside down after I have taken it, I take note of the difference and remember why I did it. Using small but often effective memory techniques can help you remember as you did in your youth. It takes only a moment for each one and the change is what you notice. Make it different from the rest and you will look at it and think why is that there; but, then it comes back to you and you remember.

Steps

  1. Make a list of things you need to do.
  2. Move items to an unusual spot.
  3. Turn pill bottles upside down.
  4. Keep sticky notes everywhere.
  5. Use hangers to separate things in your closet.
  6. Use tags on or near items.
  7. Tell a friend or family member.
  8. Place items where they will be in the way.
  9. Make necessary things hard to reach.
  10. Keep a notebook with you at all times.

Make a List of Things You Need To Do

I know that it is hard to write things down... You have to get up and find a notebook that you will remember to read later. But, if you make a 'to-do' list every morning while drinking your morning coffee or eating a breakfast sandwich, you will have it to remind you what needs to be done. Cross off the item once you have completed it. I find that writing things helps me to remember them. Another trick for your 'to-do' list is to write your new list out as you go.

For Instance: While making your morning coffee, you see the flyer on the counter for the show you will attend later in the week. You don't have your outfit back from the cleaners. Mark on tomorrow's list something like 'pick up dry cleaning'. Write down things as you remember them. It will make it so much easier to remember them when you need to remember them.

Make your list with your morning coffee.

Make your list with your morning coffee.

Move Items To An Unusual Spot

If you are anything like me, you put things in a certain spot around the house. I also try to put things back where they belong. This means that when I go to use something it is always where I put it. However, there are times you need the item at a certain time or to take with you, etc. So put the item in a different spot to help you remember. For instance: You have an antibiotic to take and keep forgetting to take it. Put the medication in the middle of your table or desk so you see it often. This helps you remember to take it. Of course, you can use whatever location you wish, just make sure it is different and unique; and not hidden by other things. The trick here is that you see it out of place, or just see it period.

Turn Pill Bottles Upside Down

Taking my pills is sometimes very nerve-wracking. I take it and know I am good, but only for the moment. Twenty minutes later I can't remember if I took it or not. Solution? Once taken turn the bottle upside down. This tells you, without remembering it, that you took it. It helps me keep up with all the medications I have to take. An upside-down bottle tells me I already took that one. Of course, you may need to take it again at a different time. When the time arrives, you see the upside-down bottle and, with very little effort, remember that you turned it upside down when you last took it. Put it back upside down to tell yourself you took it again. Sounds silly, but it really works.

Keep Sticky Notes Everywhere

A bit messy, I know, but it usually works. Put a note on your bathroom mirror, the one you look in each time you are in the bathroom. It can have all sorts of things on it. For example: 'Pull out the chicken before you go to work!' or 'Take antibiotic before you go to work!' By putting them all over the things you see and use on a regular basis, you remind yourself without having to remember. Even a small piece of paper taped to the item works. So get out there and stick away. Sorry, I got a bit carried away.

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You might want to remove the note once you have carried out what was written on it so you don't end up with something like this.

You might want to remove the note once you have carried out what was written on it so you don't end up with something like this.

Use Hangers To Separate Things In Your Closet

You don't have to be savvy or have a lot of time to search through all of your clothes. An empty hanger, even a plastic retail hanger, can tell you things so you don't have to remember. For example, Summer clothes are separated from winter clothes. You can use the method in drawers too. Just keep summer on one side and winter on the other. It doesn't have to be difficult, just all together. Consistency is the key here. If you separate them regularly, you recognize that one section is, say, pants and the other blouses. Yes, you see the difference when you walk into the closet, but without separation, you need to go through everything to find what you need.

These could work.

These could work.

Use Tags On Or Near Items

Many of the things I use to store my food prevent me from seeing what is inside. A coffee can might be used for storage, or a counter canister holding tea. If you cannot see the items inside, you can put a sticky note or tag on the container so that you don't have to keep opening it to see what is inside. The notes can be small, dull in color, and hidden if you like, but grabbing a tag to see what is inside the canister helps me remember the contents. It also saves time by getting me to the right canister without having to open all of them.

Tell A Friend Or Family Member

When we have things that we want to keep hidden, we hide that item and then we forget where we put it. By telling a trusted friend or family member where you put it, you can give yourself a much-needed helpline. Call the person you told and ask where you put the item. They may not remember either, but the act of asking will often bring the memory forward. For example, you have hidden money somewhere in your house for a rainy day, but you can't remember where. Rather than tearing your house apart, call the friend or family member first. This can, sadly, also be used to tell people where things are if and when you pass away.

Place Items Where They Will Be In The Way

I have misplaced things so many times and it drives me crazy. So I put the item in my way. For example, put the pill bottle onto the top of your laptop if you work from home. This means you will see it every time you look at the screen. Put things on the table where you eat, or you could put them next to the coffee pot. If you have to move it to do a task, you will remember it as well. The more in the way, the better.

Help keep your brain working.

Help keep your brain working.

Make Necessary Things Hard To Reach

You know you will need that item, like your creamer for your coffee. You have to work a little harder to get it, but you will also see the item you needed to remember in front of it. This works because you will always reach for the item you need. No one goes out without their shoes, for instance, and sitting in front of them on a top shelf is the item you needed to remember.

Keep A Notebook With You At All Times

A small notebook that can fit in a pocket with a pen can be a lifesaver for you. A call from the doctor's office, for instance, gives you details you need to remember. Pull out your notebook and write it down. Use it for 'to-do' lists and/or something that must be done before you leave. By checking the book often, you can remember what needs to be done. However, the biggest reason for using the notebook is you look at it every time you write something down. This reminds you of things you need to do or details you need to remember. I write everything down, even small things. My note page looks like a strong wind blew all the words around and made a mess. I cross off things as I accomplish them. This is also a good reminder that the task was done.

Maybe a little bit smaller.

Maybe a little bit smaller.

These Are Not The Only Ones

You are unique which means the reminders you need are also unique. You can use things that you know to remind yourself of things, or you can modify the suggestions I have given you to fit your own needs. It doesn't really matter what you do as long as it helps you remember.

Sometimes we all have to face memory loss. But, by using our normal routines and our creativity, we can beat forgetfulness before it takes it's toll.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Cheryl Simonds

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