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How you can help yourself

How you can help yourself

No one’s memory is perfect, but some medical conditions can cause more difficulty with memory than is usual.

Short-term (new) memories are more likely to be affected than long-term (old) memories. Someone may not remember something that happened that morning but may remember very clearly something that happened years ago.

People tend to forget everyday things that are relatively unimportant, like posting letters or appointment times.

Anxiety and stress affect memory, so worrying may make it even harder to remember.

Trying to ‘exercise’ the memory by setting yourself memory tests is rarely useful. It is better to keep your brain active by continuing to do the things you enjoy.

Remembering to do something

  • Write appointments, important dates and things to do on a wall calendar or in a diary
  • Use a notepad to write lists, information from phone calls and signs to help yourself with day-to-day activities
  • Talk to your GP about organising and labelling medication boxes

Remembering what has happened

  • Use a diary to write about what happened during the day
  • Try talking aloud to double check that you have done something. (“I’ve locked the door”)

Remembering people's names

  • Remember that you can speak to someone without using their name.
  • When someone tells you their name, repeat it back to them.
  • Be honest. It is okay to tell people that you are having difficulty remembering their name.
  • Keep a list of people’s names at home and make a note of how you know them.

Remembering where you have put things

  • Keep things that you tend to lose in the same place (purse, wallet and keys in a specific bowl or box)
  • Talking aloud to double check where you have put something (“I’ve put the stamps in the drawer)
  • Keep your glasses on a neck chain
  • Attach keys to a handbag or belt with a cord
  • Put a label with your name and telephone number on things that you might leave around, such as an umbrella or a walking stick.
  • Alarm keyrings can be useful to find your keys

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