Memory Strategies


As we age, we may increasingly find ourselves losing the keys or leaving something on the stove. A declining memory can be frustrating for anyone. There are lots of ways to aid our memory, which can relieve our frustration:

  • Use a calendar or agenda book to keep track of appointments
  • Use a notepad for grocery lists, to do lists, and reminders
  • Use a watch with alarms for medications
  • Post signs with reminders, like a post-it note on the door reminding you to turn off the stove
  • Label drawers and cupboards
  • Find a home for common things like keys, wallets, and always keep them there
  • Set up routines for daily and weekly activities, like Monday is laundry day, or start making lunch at 11:30
  • Repeat things you want to remember to yourself, like repeating names when meeting people, or repeating facts when you’re learning new information
  • Associate a visual image or a rhyme with something you want to remember

Now, what may seem like a declining memory may actually be a decline in the rate we learn and store new information. So not only can we aid our memory, we can also do things to challenge our brains to help with learning and storing information:

  • listen to music
  • play an instrument
  • play thinking games with others, like scrabble
  • do crosswords or Sudoku games
  • read novels, newspapers and talk with others about them
  • play computer games – reaction time and problem-solving games
  • learn a new card game
  • attend a new social group
  • learn new skills, like computer skills
  • learn a new hobby
  • take a course in something that interests you
  • go places, see things, and talk with others about your escapades

Implementing even a few strategies can help reduce frustration and anxiety :)

Angela Mitrovic PT, Physiotherapist, and Myra Del Rosario OT Reg. (Ont.), Occupational Therapist

Credit Valley Hospital