Tips for short term memory loss

Last night I went to my psychotherapist appointment, I love this woman! This health care pro has already helped change my day to day life in just a handful of sessions.
So PT’s office is in her home, there is a side entrance into a waiting area where I chill until she calls me into her office after the last client leaves. It’s very cool; there is an exit directly from her office so neither client actually sees one another.
There I sat yesterday tweeting away and in came a man. This was bizarre, the only people who entered that room were clients and I’d never met anyone else. The man and I both looked at each other in surprise and in typical fashion I was the first to speak “Hi, could she have double booked us?”
The man sat in the chair beside mine, smiled and replied “Looks like it.”
“I could be wrong,” as I double checked the calender on my iPhone, “I have short-term memory issues, I often get things wrong.”
His response: “So do I, I have a brain injury from a bike accident 6 years ago. I’d love to go home; I kind of hope I’m wrong on this one.”
We were both laughing when the PT came in. Needless to say she was shocked to see us both and was truly gracious when she informed me that my appointment had been for Tuesday and that I was in again next Tuesday.
The way they both handled the situation made me feel totally comfortable, I wasn’t feeling shameful for once about my lack of knowledge. I didn’t feel like I’d dropped the ball by missing the appointment.
They both totally understood it.
That was such a relief, much of the time I’m busy beating myself up for the symptoms of a brain injury I cannot control. I am learning to accept it and work with it.
Today I thought I’d share with you some of the tools which have helped me with coping through day to day activities with memory loss.
  • Use the calender on my iPhone. I store in each and every activity through my day and set a reminder for 15 minutes before. This includes preparing food, eating, brush teeth, making phone calls, picking up kids from school. I put in each and every thing even if I believe I cannot forget it.
  • Write in a weekly calender. If I write it down, my husband can also see what is planned.
  • Add phone numbers into my phone with full information. I cannot just write someones first name anymore, I’ll never know who it is. Do not use abbreviations for appointments and always include the location. 
  • Communicate by email. It is easier for me to access information when it is written. If I do things by phone alone the information often floats right past me.
  • Book appointments the same time and day weekly when possible. The more routine I make things the more likely I am to retain them.
  • Share with others that I have memory issues and ask them to remind me of things, having others understand it allows them to help.
  • Everything has a place. I keep things in the same locations in the house. For example: my purse is always on the same shelf with my keys next to it.
  • Routine is rarely changed. Our daily routine has to remain structured for me to know what time of day it is. I tend to lose track of time and as long as we stick to the basic routine I am more likely to keep track.
  • Set a menu for the week. We try to plan all meals and ensure there is food in the house. This menu should be easily accessible and I put reminders in my phone to pull out the frozen ingredients and prepare as necessary.
  • Lists, lists and more lists. Anything which needs to be accomplished must be written down.
  • Put things away properly. This is essential for any documentation which I will need to access later. I take the time to put it away in it’s designated spot. Also handy for being able to find my bank card.
Those are some of the helpful things I’ve learned so far and I’m certain I’ll discover more controls as time goes by.
Having a sense of humor is also important!
It’s never fun to spend over an hour looking for the digital camera, only to have hubby find it in the fridge next to the cream I used to make my coffee but it is funny!
To anyone who has memory issues, please be gentle with yourself. Implement controls which will help but when you forget things don’t punish yourself.
Remember to breathe through the fear of the loss of control and know that God has your back.

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4 Responses

  1. Oh joy!I love when life presents us with other human beings and we actually "get" one another – all pretense, uncomfortableness, fears, inferiorities – POOF!!Super tips as well. I'm not making light of your circumstance when I state -I'm struggling with memory as a factor of aging. Its true – so ,, all the help and tools I can pack away are super!!~dOh, have a great weekend!!!!

  2. Great post, I had a brain injury last year and have had many things happen over the course of the past six months regarding all the issues of memory and such, the brain is so vastly mysterious. I have had three concussions in under five years so my doctors are keeping an eye one me..I loved this post though, so true your list of things to keep things minimized and okay, thank you for writing this!!!g

  3. "To anyone who has memory issues, please be gentle with yourself. Implement controls which will help but when you forget things don't punish yourself."Great reminder and advice — I would even say this is good advice for any and all of us because life can be hard enough without punishment! A great post with helpful hints. Thanks!

  4. Hey julie, I just wanted to let you know that I linked to your blog in my latest blog post. :o) Thanks for being here and sharing your life with us.

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