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Strategy 1 - Bionic Memory
 

cartoon character sitting at a computer screen entering a passwordWe live in such high-tech times that you have probably already used memory aids such as alarms, timers and calendars on your phone or computer. Nowadays everyone needs to use memory aids to keep up with our busy modern lives.

If you are one of the 40 – 65% of people living with MS experiencing changes in your ability to remember it may help to make more systematic and wider use of these aids and apps.

It can be well worth taking the time to set up regular reminders for important recurring tasks like medication or the time of your kid’s ballet class or soccer training.

Be disciplined about entering all plans, appointments and deadlines – whether it’s a coffee with a friend, your house insurance renewal date or a doctor’s appointment – into your calendar system as soon as you make them.

Add a reminder to each entry with an appropriate time scale: there is no point in setting a reminder that tells you that you have a flight to New York 10 minutes before the plane is due to take off…

Update your address book with full details of your most used contacts – in addition to the basics why not add the name of your contact’s children or their favourite soccer team. You could also add photos for each contact with key info on the photo itself so that when they call you – you have an immediate reminder of their name and any other information you choose to add to the photo.

Good old-fashioned memory aids like post-it notes, to-do lists, notebooks and white boards all work perfectly well too. Make use of your phone’s notepad and voice record abilities for ‘in the moment’ note taking.

A large wall planner might be helpful if its hard to keep track of everything everyone in the family is doing. Also ask your kids, partners, loved ones and significant others not to assume that you will remember the details of their social calendars – consider asking them to send you reminders during the week of where they will be. This has the added bonus of minimising family misunderstandings and arguments over schedules.

If you find yourself frequently in a flap every time you have to leave the house looking for your keys, wallet or other life essentials, then create a one-drop place for important stuff in your life that you need (and lose) regularly, such as glasses, passports, driving license, hospital appointment cards etc.

Be strict about putting these items in this designated place and only in this designated place when you come home – never, ever put them anywhere else. Do this for 2-3 weeks until it becomes a habit and you will not only always know where to find these important items but you will benefit from the wonderful side effects of reduced stress levels. Plus you can enjoy that little bit of extra time every morning that you used to spend looking for your keys and wallet.

Use visualisation to help make information stick in your memory. Next time you have to remember a shopping list, try ‘seeing’ these words or items in your mind’s eye.

Our brain has the capacity to remember information through any of our five senses – the memories for each of these senses activate different areas of your brain. So if someone is wearing perfume or aftershave, take note of it as you remember their name. If a song is playing as you learn a new driving route, think about it when you are driving that route again. Activating more brain areas as you learn could increase the likelihood of remembering something.

A diary can be very helpful, especially if you keep it in an organised way. If you struggle to remember important information, devise a system for yourself for recording this information in a way that you can refer to it easily – use headings, different colours, underline etc – it can be a handwritten diary or just a document on your computer – the thing is to find whatever works for you.

Scientists are still trying to figure out what happens to memory with MS but recent research suggests that the problem may occur at the front end of the memory process where we acquire knowledge rather than difficulties remembering or retrieving information from long-term memory. So strategies to improve attention and to support information processing may also help with memory problems.

There are also strategies to support these cognitive domains commonly affected by MS; AttentionInformation Processing and Executive Function

Back to Super Strategies

 

 
 
Hello Brain For more info on brain health visit Hello Brain
 

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