How can you adapt and cope with everyday memory problems?
Unfortunately, there is no simple cure for memory problems. However, the good news is that there are a number of things you can do which can make living with memory problems easier. These include:
1. Adapting your environment
One thing you can do to help your memory problems is to alter your surroundings so that you do not need to rely on your memory as much. Here are some useful ideas that you might try:
2. Using memory aids
Memory aids are any tools or objects that help you to remember things.Most of us would not get through our day-to-day lives without using some kind of memory aid! We keep diaries to remind us of appointments, make lists to remind us of the things we have to do, and ask others to remind us not to forget.
Memory aids are even more important when you have memory problems. They can take over some of the tasks that memory would otherwise perform, and help to reduce the amount of things that you need to remember. Different things will work for different people so choose the ones that suit you.
Here are some useful ideas for memory aids:
It is important when you use memory aids that you choose whatever works for you. Look for aids and tools that fit with the skills you have. For example, if you have never used a mobile phone with a calendar, you may find it difficult to start using one now.
It can take time to set up routines and to get used to using memory aids. Try not to get too frustrated, give yourself time.
3. Making life easier by following a set routine
A simple way of reducing the impact of memory problems is to follow a set routine or structure for each day or week. Having a routine and a structured day means that you can get used to what to expect, which can help to reduce demands on your memory.
You can use a diary or calendar to make note of regular activities. Another approach is to make a chart showing regular activities, perhaps using photographs or pictures, and to display this on a noticeboard as a reminder. Alternatively, you can use electronic aids to provide verbal reminders and cues throughout the day.
At times, changes in routine can be confusing when you are experiencing memory problems, so it is usually a good idea for relatives and friends to explain any changes carefully and thoroughly.
4. Improving general well-being
Memory is very important in giving us a sense of our own identity. Memory problems often have major emotional effects, including feelings of loss and anger and increased levels of depression and anxiety.
Some approaches you can try to deal with this are as follows:
Adapted content from: Alzheimer.ie, SPMHS (OT Department), Dementia.ie