Memory problems hit up to 60% of people with MS.
The good news is that You CAN compensate for your shaky memory. In general, there are two ways:
- Remediation — exercises designed to improve memory function usually developed by a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or neuropsychologist.
- Compensation — strategies designed to make up for or avoid memory lapses.
You can start using compensation strategies immediately to supplement your memory.
- Be more organized.
- Use memory aids.
Here are some suggestions:
Consolidate and centralize! Designate one place in your home as the “Grand Central” information center.
Put up a calendar large enough to keep track of everyone’s appointments, activities, and social engagements, with pens or markers hanging right beside it.
OR keep a computer in a central area with a calendar program. Set it up with a monthly schedule of reminders for routine tasks. Log on at regular times every day.
Make a place for mail, bills, phone messages, to-do lists, keys, wallet, shopping lists, and more.
If your reminders and information are scattered everywhere, your chances of forgetting obligations skyrockets.
On the Go
Take a small notebook or day planner with you as an extension of the home calendar. Log appointments, phone calls, things to do, and important instructions every day.
OR use a personal digital assistant (PDA) or a Blackberry. Program your PDA to remind you of tasks or appointments.
OR use a digital voice recorder to record your to-do list or other things to remember. It’s also easy to make notes to yourself on the go. Many can transfer information to a computer program.
Whatever tool, keep it with you at all times and transfer information to/from the home calendar regularly.
- Keep the system simple! Limit your memory aids to one at home and one to go. This should make backing up your memory manageable and stress-free.
- Use your memory tools consistently. Routine makes it easier to remember and get things done.
Author: Janet De Clark, MA, CCC/SLP, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis