Favorite Memory Aids for People With Early Memory Loss

Someone who's experiencing loss of short-term memory can stress less by minimizing the sheer number of things needed to remember in a given day. Several simple tools can help you and your loved one in this way:

  • Written notes and reminders. Send reminders by e-mail or leave them on the counter. Place a list of favorite cable channel numbers (like you see in hotels) next to the remote. Post a prominent written calendar in addition to relying on electronic formats. Family members often worry that leaving notes will seem insulting. But these reminders help those who are struggling with memory problems to relax because they don't have to work so hard to stay on top of things.

  • Lots of easy-to-read clocks. Try placing one in every room, either a digital clock or an analog type where the numerals are all included. Ideal: a digital clock that displays both the date and the time.

  • A large central calendar. Encourage your loved one to cross off the date each night before bed. Attach a pen or marker to the calendar, so there's no hunting for one. Mark key events, even regular ones like trash day or the days that bills are due.

  • Pillbox and cue card. In addition to using a pillbox that organizes medications by day (or by morning and evening), attach a cue card to the box that reminds your loved one how the meds are to be taken: Take all at once with water, for example.

  • Day-by-day pocket diary. Many people with early-stage memory loss find it helpful to carry a small notebook in which they can record key notes to themselves about what to do, who visited, and so on. It helps to prompt the person to write those things down, reinforcing the habit of using this memory aid.


over 1 year ago, said...

My husband has had mini-strokes and his memory is not as good as before. I keep the calendar current and we have never had a problem. I now do his pills and keep track of when he has his bowel movement so he doesn't take too much medicine for his chronic constipation. One of his problems in Neurologic Fatigue. Today he had Cataract Surgery and we had to be at the Surgery Center at 5:15 am.


almost 3 years ago, said...

Walnuts improve your memory.


over 3 years ago, said...

great advice! thank you.


almost 4 years ago, said...

momisme-ever consider going to a nice assisted living place? or retirement residence(no i don't mean skilled nursing home--a big house is a white elephant for someone like you.


almost 4 years ago, said...

yes the crossout calendar is good!


about 5 years ago, said...

Whiteboards around the house help too--you can write large and in color on them.


about 5 years ago, said...

So I have to live in an old peoples world too!


about 5 years ago, said...

The methods of keeping the memory alive. we are afterall working with the grey-cells!


about 5 years ago, said...

Over the past 35 yrs.I was also diagnosed with old & new minni strokes. I had many misscaragies,I was put on birth control pills,most did not help.There was one pill,I think was Ovalom,caused the old strokes ,I was 26 yrs. old at the time,as I got older I started having more,they said due to tiny clots left. I still go into them,but not as bad.My memory really got bad after my car wreck.


about 5 years ago, said...

After a horrific accident,4 1/2 yrs.ago,I started having memory loss.At the time I had a front lobe head injury ,anything that I can do to help me remember is a blessing.Thank You


over 5 years ago, said...

The use of clocks that have digital displays that include the date,preferably with the day given in letters, thur. sat. etc. are a great help in every room. The most important ones to my husband are by his chair and by his bed. He always has the date available as the clock and telephone are both by his chair and he knows what day of the week it is when he wakes in the morning which helps orient his day. My husband sometimes has a few too many note pages of reminders and this defeats their purpose as it,s too confusing. If I see them accumulating I turn them into one list in order of importance. I,m fortunate to be able to continue working and the days I,m away I put my reminders on a yellow pad which stands out from his white ones adding to my chances of finding he,s accomplishe them when I arrive home.


over 5 years ago, said...

Thank- you


over 5 years ago, said...

Momisme, I can relate to your situation as I have lived with bipolar since my teens and it,s been a challenge just managing the symptoms of this disease. Learning my triggers and trying to maintain stability while caring for my mother and now my husband both victims of alz. I,m in my early sixties and from the experience of caring for my loved ones my concern is for your living alone. If you are diagnosed with alz please try to find a trustworthy individual you would be comfortable having as a live in companion now while your judgement is reliable and your bipolar is being managed. My Mom lived with us for ten happy years after her alz. diagnosis but she couldn,t have managed on her own. Now my husband in his early sixties has a full and happy life but the alz. has progressed to where he couldn,t manage without me and has a growing list of things he needs assistance with. Some of the things he,s unable to manage he thinks he still can. The disease can be deceptive, people that are unaware of it would never guess in casual conversation just as he is unaware himself of some of his diminished abilities. I don,t mean to alarm you in any way I just wanted to suggest the idea of finding a suitable companion now for a possible need sometime in the future. I wish you the best in this challenging time. V.


over 5 years ago, said...

Regarding the scientific evidence and researches the best method is focusing on Word Puzzels .I have seen remarkable improvements for my mother problems . The habit of word puzzels with solutions review and amendments on the next day can remarkably save andretins the brain dynamism and working .But you should help your loved ones by encouraging him or her continuously not ficusing on the right answers only . The encourgement has been the many psychological engine securing the self confidence and esteem of the person with memory loss . These are interrealated and reinforcing .Also when one night passes and the person with memory problem sleeps , during his or her sleep his brain is working on the data and information reviewed and gathered during the puzzle game just like the defragmentation in computer . Then in the next day when the person reviews the words , the relearning and retival mechanism are working better based on the brain last night processing . My mother is now better than me in answering the word puzzles and it is amazing . Also it is filled with fun and excitment when you solve word puzzle . The recommendation is from a scientifica source and it is not my devised one . My expereince says it works and it is very helpful just if your beloved is on the begining of the memory loss problem .


over 5 years ago, said...

cue cards,pillbox and day by day diary


over 5 years ago, said...

I am having problems with memory. I have already been diagnosed with Bi-Polar, and Adult ADD. In the passed two or three years, my overall health has declined. I was concerned because my mother had Alzheimer and her health was declining just before she was diagnosed. I am being tested for it, and hopefully will know where I stand. I have Long Term Care Insurance with an option of in home care. I live alone, and family is out of town. I can sort my pills pretty well, and fix my meals. But a part of my problem is with daily and weekly home care and upkeep of a large home. I have difficulty planning and working with money. It is suggested to keep my environment as simple as possible, but, I just can't get there. It is too confusing to get it unconfused. Those are things I need help with. (I don't need a companion though I live alone.) I have long term care insurance that will help in home or in an assisted living. Every time I try to find out, only medical help, not mental health is covered. What has been your experience with Long Term Care in this area. Momisme


over 5 years ago, said...

Notes seem to be a good idea, I have a special pad where I write things down, and I leave it on the kitchen table, i.e. where I am, or where I am going. the other day hubby wrote 'Thankyou' on the page, so that is great.