Everyday forgetfulness is one of those unpleasant—but often unavoidable—side effects of aging. Losing track of what you were doing or trying to remember an important phone number to no avail can be very annoying. In many cases, it’s simply brain aging, and it definitely doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s.
But because these episodes of forgetfulness keep recurring—and in light of the rising numbers of dementia patients—you may start fearing that you’re on the threshold of cognitive decline.
First of all, do not panic. If you have any reservations, see your doctor and get tested to restore your peace of mind. Mind you, people who worry too much about developing brain health issues run a greater risk of developing them. So, if you want a healthy mind, keep it worry-free.
Secondly, you feel so affected by these temporary memory glitches because it impairs your daily life. The solution? Learn to outsmart your forgetfulness.
Simple daily strategies to cope with memory loss
- Put a calendar or a noticeboard somewhere where you can frequently see it, like on the fridge or on the wall in your dining area. Use it to plan your daily activities and check them off once completed. Get into a routine of checking your calendar, be it first thing in the morning or every time you’re done your meal.
- Every morning, buy a daily newspaper. This is another way to know what the date is.
- Go shopping with a grocery list and cross items off once you place them in your cart. Keep a list of items you run out of in your kitchen to keep your food stocks under control.
- Keep a list of important phone numbers next to your home phone or saved on your cell phone. This should include the contact information of your family members and friends, neighbors, as well as your family doctor, police, and utility companies.
- Put together a laminated sign to remind you of the things you need to do regularly, like grabbing your keys when you go out or turning off the lights when you exit the room.
- Use a medication reminder box to organize your pills for the day and by times of the day when you’re taking them. This is an efficient way to make sure you’re not missing your meds.
- Set an alarm clock as a reminder for important things to do, like getting ready for an appointment or making a call. Keep a note of why you’ve set the alarm.
- Get to know unique features on your cell phone—it can be a great aid in terms of organizing your tasks and reminding you of the things you need to do.
- To better remember your PIN at the ATM, visualize the shape made by the numbers it contains.
One last thing. You know that feeling you get when you go into a room and have no idea why you’re there. In your mind, go back to the point in time when you decided to go there. If you need to, you can even literally retrace your footsteps. It should help.