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How to manage memory problems

Problems with memory can be caused by many things, such as:

  • stress
  • some medicines
  • head injury
  • stroke
  • dementia
  • normal aging

​​​​​How can I manage problems with my memory?

Below are some suggestions to help you manage memory problems.

  • If you don’t remember what someone has said, ask them to repeat it.
  • Repeat things out loud to help yourself remember them.
  • Write down information that you want to remember. Keep a notepad in your wallet, purse, or pocket to write down information, conversations, messages, or lists.
  • Keep a notepad and pencil near the phone to write down messages.
  • Ask other people to write down information that you need to remember.
  • Put post-it notes in visible spots as reminders (e.g., put notes on the bathroom mirror such as “Pick up Judy at 3:00”).
  • Use an appointment book, date book, or calendar to write important dates and appointments.
  • Use a daily checklist to remind you of activities and chores you need to do.
  • Keep an address book for important phone numbers and addresses.
  • Use an oven timer or a watch with an alarm to remind you to take medicine or to keep an appointment.
  • Use a tape recorder for long, important conversations.
  • Use word associations (finding words that remind you of something) to help remember facts (e.g., “Remember that my sister lives on Spruce Avenue because she has a big spruce tree on her front lawn.”)
  • Use a daily or weekly pill box (also called a dosette) to keep track of medicine. Your pharmacist may be able to do this for you.
  • Write down people’s names and/or their relationship to you in a book or on cue cards (e.g., if you can’t remember the names of people in a social group, write down their names to help you at the meetings).
  • To remember to bring certain items with you, put them by the door or with your keys.​
  • Take photos (E.g. take a photo of a magazine article or a car you’d like to discuss with your spouse later)

Where to go get help

For more information about how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help, contact:

  • Your doctor, public health nurse, or other health provider
  • Your local health centre

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