Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top 10 Must-Dos For Memory, By Ann-Marie Elia, M.A., CCC-SLP

1.      Write daily activities down in a notebook/journal. This is good for memory recall of that particular day. Then you can use the notebook/journal to test your memory one week later by trying to recall again what you did on that day. See if what you recall matches what you wrote down in the notebook/journal.

2.      Keep track of appointments on a calendar and keep your calendar visible (on the refrigerator, hanging on wall) if possible.

3.      Keep track of important information (your address, bank account information, doctor’s number, etc) within one location, such as a notebook or PDA. Have an emergency copy in a second location. Having a travel sized copy is very useful for when you are on the go and need to have access to such information.

4.      Keep belongings you use day to day in the same location, such as your car keys. This helps to reduce time spent looking for items.

5.       Set alarms (on your cell phone, PDA, or digital timer) to keep you on track for various tasks and assist with time management. This can range from keeping track of appointments to keeping track of how long you have something cooking in the oven. Even if you feel this is not necessary, setting such reminders actually assists with your memory recall. Plus, it’s a great “back-up” plan if you do happen to forget.

6.      Try to always have access to a mini-notebook or sticky pad for situations that come up where you need to remember information, such as writing down where you parked your car. A PDA is also great for this.

7.      Keep track of any “memory event” you might have. Whether it was repeating information to a friend, or forgetting an appointment. Keeping track will allow you to increase your awareness of just how often these events are happening. Write down what was happening at the time. Was it a loud environment? Were you tired? Did you notice the error, or did someone else have to tell you? This serves as a great resource for your doctor as well.

8.      Keep stress to a minimum, eat well and get plenty of sleep. These factors can magnify cognitive/brain impairments if not managed and could possible put you in danger (driving a car, crossing the road). Balance is the key to a healthy mind.

9.      Maintaining a regular cardio exercise program increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Consult with your doctor concerning your limitations.

10. At least once a day, take time to do your cognitive/brain exercises. Your brain, much like the muscles in your body, needs to be used in order to maintain its functions. As they say, “Use it or lose it”.  

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