Memory Tips

5 Easy Memory Aids That Can Help Anyone
finger and a string

Having problems remembering to take pills, buy grocery items, or make appointments? Everyone experiences memory problems sometimes. Memory experts often recommend the following simple aids to people with mild cognitive impairment or early symptoms of dementia. But anybody (including harried caregivers!) who's ever forgotten something important can benefit.

1. A GPS system

Remembering routes can be challenging, especially if they're not frequent destinations. And following written directions can be difficult for someone with early dementia, or anyone who doesn't want to be a distracted driver.

Simple solution: a global positioning (GPS) navigation system in the car. Prices have been dropping since these gizmos were first introduced; you can buy a simple unit for less than $200. Many drivers find it easier to follow verbal instructions than to have to read them. And if you make a mistake, the GPS autocorrects and redirects you.

2. Medication reminders

Medication management is the bane of both caregivers and relatively healthy adults looking after themselves. Fortunately a variety of tools exist to help you remember to dispense, or take, meds on time.

Medical alarms can be programmed to send you an e-mail message or a beep to a special watch. Some pill containers themselves will send visual messages. Learn more about medication management for no more missed pills.

3. A small portable notebook

Not all memory aids are high-tech. The lowly notebook can be a lifesaver when it comes to remembering names, details, and to-do lists. The trick is to have the notebook handy at all times. Very small books (such as Moleskine's 2.5 by 4 inch extra-small version) that slip into a pocket or purse work well.

Train yourself to write down everything you don't want to slip away -- the names of those present at a meeting, the sudden thought to call for a haircut appointment, items to pick up at the grocery store on your way home.

The act of writing it down helps to secure a thought in your mind -- and if you forget, you can look it up.

4. A don't-lose basket or shelf

This idea amps up the old adage about "a place for everything." Dedicate a single basket or box to all key items that are often misplaced: car keys, house key, reading glasses, sunglasses, medications, and anything else used regularly -- even cell phone, TV remote, and sweaters. (Note: For someone with dementia, you'd want to store medications out of sight and out of reach, to avoid accidental overdosing.)

5. A centralized household calendar

It's hard enough to remember your own priorities, let alone everyone else's. Whether your household contains five people and three generations or just one person and a pet, post an oversized calendar in a central place (such as the kitchen). Use a different colored marker to write down each family member's appointments, invitations, and travels (or, for a pet, dates with the vet or groomer).

Get in the habit of looking at the calendar every morning and consulting it before you make new appointments. Electronic calendars work well for many people, but for others, they're "out of sight, out of mind." A large planner in your line of vision every day is harder to ignore.


over 1 year ago, said...

yes very clear


over 2 years ago, said...

Does chronic worrying affect the brain in any way.


almost 3 years ago, said...

I suggest that comments shold mention the country when relevant. Different countries have different public and voluntary facilties. This website is helpful all over the world. Dennis, England.


almost 3 years ago, said...

I always forget to take out my pendrive from the folder and umbrella within few seconds


almost 3 years ago, said...

The dont-lose basket idea really spoke to me, too. My wife, who is not at all memory impaired in any clinical sense, just puts her stuff down everywhere and whenever we leave the house it takes her an extra 10 minutes to gather her keys, her phone, her glasses, etc. I'm going to suggest the basket idea to her right now.


almost 3 years ago, said...

Yes, it was very reassuring.


over 3 years ago, said...

I had several tests after my husband complained about my poor memory. Injections of Vitamin B12 were prescribed. I give them to my self after instruction by the nurse. I've been told I will have to take them the rest of my life on a once a month schedule.


almost 4 years ago, said...

Obtain a file of life card, from the fire department. It comes with a magnetic pouch to mount on the fridge. You write all the vital information on, it, in pencil, for emergencies to give to the resue squad.


almost 4 years ago, said...

These are simple but GREAT aids for memory!


almost 4 years ago, said...

Somes of the ideas were ones I had not considered. Now I will try them.


almost 4 years ago, said...

The fact that everything you have listed, I have already put into play one by one as I thought of them - thery are so logical and easy to execute. - I certainly agree with the concept of them being superior to electronic sources (I go on line with my business needs) but they are more time consuming that just just picking up a pencil and just jotting. Tx.


almost 4 years ago, said...

The basket idea, where everyday things are readilly available.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I have aging parents and a husband who has pancreatic cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. I love all five of the memory aids, particularly the one for taking medications. I'm printing a copy for my folks and emailing a copy to a friend who has a neice who has overdosed on her meds several times. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.


over 4 years ago, said...

Tips are very useful and simple too. Thanks for sharing with us....


over 4 years ago, said...

I already use several of these techniques, but I find remembering medications the hardest. So I set alarms on my cell phone. I am able to set up to six of them. It is very helpful. But the one box for all keys was most helpful. I tend to put different keys in different places, but I think it would be better to keep them in one spot...box or drawer or purse, it wouldn't matter so long as it is the same place all the time. That is what gets me in trouble, changing the location. So, when I moved recently, I decided to find a location for things and to keep them there.


almost 5 years ago, said...

The idea of a basket for the things you usually lose.


about 5 years ago, said...

I do most of these things, but I think it would help others who haven't found some of these solutions.


about 5 years ago, said...

These tips are easy to implement into your everyday! I find that taking a brisk walk everyday and managing stress really helps improve memory. For more memory improving tips visit www.alzheimersprevention.org.


about 5 years ago, said...

These were very simple tips that don't require a lot of extra effort or searching for specialized gear. The don't-lose basket is something I plan to start right away!