3 Ways to Help Someone With Early Memory Loss Add and Access New Memories

A useful thing to bear in mind about memory impairment: Memories aren't technically "lost" -- they're all still there within the brain. The problem lies first in saving them and then in accessing them. Working memory -- the so-called "scratch pad" where the brain stores immediate memories, like names and numbers and why you went into the next room, before they're filed permanently -- is the first part of the memory system impaired by dementia. But with help, many memories can continue to be added and accessed.

Try these tactics to reinforce working memory:

  • Simplify daily tasks. Streamline activities so there are fewer things to remember. This prevents the brain from wasting energy. For example, consider switching to an all-in-one shampoo/conditioner/body wash, rather than using three different products.

  • Use forced repetition. Do certain things the same way with intention, over and over. For example, encourage your loved one to sit in the same chair at each meal. Get him or her dressed in the same order every day (underwear, trousers, shirt, socks). Prepare the same breakfast each morning, in the same way.

  • Provide mental reminders. Before you go to bed, set out a toothbrush with toothpaste on it. When waking up, your loved one will have a ready visual cue to remind him to brush his teeth. It can work for you, too. The minute you decide you'll need an umbrella, for example, hang it on the doorknob rather than expecting that you'll remember to grab it on your way out.


9 months ago, said...

stick note reminders


over 1 year ago, said...

Do every day task in the same order each day.


about 2 years ago, said...

ANOTHER MEMORY BOOSTER WRITE NAME OF TOWN -STREET ON WHITE PAPER PLATES HANG ON CUPBOARD THIS IS A CONSTANT REMINDER IT WORKS!!


about 2 years ago, said...

I have found the use of a supplement called memory builder and brainiums has tremendously improved persons i have dealt with. I came across it @ https://www.amway.com/NigelHarris he was very helpful.


almost 3 years ago, said...

Interesting that I initiated all these and other handy ways to "help my memory" and develop some self-appreciation about 2-3 years ago. Setting oneself up for "successful memory" by use of joggers; audible, visual, or otherwise, have really worked for me! We make Fridgy Lists, and also "seed" for success by planting the itema we need to attend to (return, replace, fix, or such) IN the Caravan RIGHT AFTER we think of it.


almost 3 years ago, said...

A person with bad memory always try this kind of tricks. What is special about it. Everybody learns from his/her mistakes.


about 3 years ago, said...

This reinforced what I was already doing - keeping the importance of 'sameness' in routines for my parents. A part of me was worried that I was reinforcing the problem by this, but now I am relieved that it is the best thing to do.


about 3 years ago, said...

These are such loving reminders. I lost my mom to Alzheimers, I am so glad you posted these reminders to help others.


over 3 years ago, said...

I've strayed from the use of forced repetition - good reminder. Suggesting I do things as soon as I think of them so as not to forget later was very helpful.


over 3 years ago, said...

What about when making a move to a new place but a town they already know,?


over 3 years ago, said...

GOOD FOR ANYONE AND ESPECIALLY THE ELDERLY


almost 4 years ago, said...

i've beeb using some of these techniques its been tough being a scientist for bell labs the toothpaste and toothbrush seems a little off for mr i"m using the read a book and remember a certain word on certain page to mr advantage


almost 4 years ago, said...

I need to use this for myself as an overworked caregiver. Thanks.


almost 4 years ago, said...

The way in which you described Working Memory - a great way to explain to resistant family members of our Mothers Illness. Thank you


over 4 years ago, said...

Very helpful tips. I created a "pathway" for my care recipient using some signs. He kept forgetting where the bathroom was. A company called Artnip makes pre-printed stickers and adhesive signs that help people with moderate to severe Alz or dementia. http://www.zazzle.com/artnip


over 4 years ago, said...

I am an active Scholar/researcher. I am beginning to forget the names of colleagues, friends..etc. This terrifies and embarrass me to no end. what can I do?


over 4 years ago, said...

Yes; thank you,


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks for all the info, we all need to help each other. My husband trys to help me to since I have neorapathy and I have to use a walker. He is patient with me but sometimes he gets angry and then he apologies and tells me he loves me. I want for us both to go, just him first and I follow after 20 minutes. I just want to be sure I will not leave him behind.


over 4 years ago, said...

hi, thanks for the tips. I allready do the first (daily tasks)and the repetition of same chair daily. I am trying to help myself also. Sometimes I pray when I need our with me during the day. I know we will be together until the end. We have been married for 53 year this April 15th. We just have to count our blessings. I had spinal surgery on 2005, wires were put in my spine on 2009, have to charge myself for my neorapathy nerves to work and keep on going.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Need more hints. thanks


almost 5 years ago, said...

Yes, it helped in treating my hubby.


about 5 years ago, said...

One thing to do is check their medicines. Many of these patients are forgetful because of medicines they were taking. I call it one of those pitfalls of caregiving.


about 5 years ago, said...

Mental Reminders may not achieve desired result. Can you imagine eating the same breakfast for life? This is afar from reality. Unless I cannot remember eating yesterday' breakfast. Toothbrush pre-loaded and umbrella are physical, not mental reminders. Moreover, I doubt leaving toothpaste on a brush overnight would be sanitary, Thanks for allowing me to participate.


about 5 years ago, said...

It's the small things I can't remember,like the umbrella,where I put the keys,if I took medacine.Reminders like a day of the week med. container,hook at the door(keys) and attach umbrella to door handle all help. ANYTHING VIVUAL!!


over 5 years ago, said...

I am a retired social worker who has worked with the memory inpaired. They are very good suggestions. Mant seniors who work with the memory impaired have poor eyesight. Larger print would help.


over 5 years ago, said...

Hi anonymous, Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, we do not have any resources on memory loss and dyslexia. However, you may find these tips helpful, ( http://www.caring.com/articles/easy-memory-aids-anyone ). I hope that helps. Take care -- Emily | Community Manager


over 5 years ago, said...

wood like to see what to do for my working memory. thank you


over 5 years ago, said...

what do you think of this and haveing memory proublms


over 5 years ago, said...

i need to no what to do for my memory and i am dyslixea and reading wrightind problum ?


over 5 years ago, said...

I liked this one; I already figured out with the stress in my life that I must put some things always in the same place such as car keys and important papers so this is also reinforcing


over 5 years ago, said...

Hi linda nix, If you'd like to add a subscriptions to your Caring.com account, you can do so quickly and easily on your subscription page, here: ( http://www.caring.com/account/subscriptions ). Simply check the editions you'd like to start receiving and then hit the orange save button. If you need any further assistance about your account, please email me at moderators@caring.com. I am more than happy to assist you! Take care -- Emily | Community Manager


over 5 years ago, said...

to know that when you do need to remind them how to go about it. I didnt mean to unsubscribe this I still want to receive emails from you. sorry I made a mistake. Maybe I am getting it too. Lord help me. Linda Nix