5 Tools to Support Memory and Organization Deficits
January 11, 2022 by Nealey Hoffman, M.A., CCC-SLP
What was that name? Who did I talk to yesterday? When was that appointment? We don’t realize the amount of information we encounter and are forced to remember each day. A memory impairment only makes it more difficult. Thankfully, compensatory tools are readily available.
Phones and Tablets
Smart devices are an external support where information can be stored. Syncing with other devices prevents loss of information and makes it easy to share information (i.e., calendar, notes, reminders) with others. Utilizing a phone calendar system helps keep track of anything with a time constraint, including appointments, deadlines, bills that are due, follow up reminders, etc. Smart phone/tablet applications are great for lists, to do’s, and daily reflection. Many note systems can be shared with others and used on several different devices.
Some excellent applications include:
The Reminders application on an iPhone is a great way to remember specific details/tasks. Functions like setting the time/date of one-time and recurring tasks, are helpful for maintaining medication regimens, completing work tasks, etc.
Some individuals prefer to use written planners over smart devices. Writing forces the brain to process information in a more detailed way and encourages memory retention. Planners are helpful tools for schedule management, appointments, and reminders.
When choosing a memory compensation tool, make sure it can be used across all situations and environments. Ask yourself, “Am I going to take this everywhere with me?” If the answer is “yes,” then make sure the planner is always with you. If the answer is “no”, then a planner might not be the best tool for you. An alternative option, such as phone might be a better option.
Note pads are best used as a general note taking system for lists, personal information, addresses, etc. Ensure the notes are organized to limit confusion. Title each note with the date and topic. Writing in several different places increases chances of losing track of information, so use one notebook at a time.
Place external memory tools in high traffic areas where they have the best chance of being noticed. Consider how visual tools can transfer to other environments. While it can be a terrific reminder in the home or at work, an additional tool may be needed when the whiteboard is not available.
A wall calendar is another highly visible tool to reference important events, appointments, birthdays, etc. It’s also a way to share calendars with friends and family. Hang it in a place where it is easy to access/change, and make sure to write information onto the calendar in a timely fashion.
We all rely on some type of tool to support our daily routines. Consider the type of information, the environment(s) where it will be used, and ease of access. Choosing the right tool can take some trial-and-error, but taking the time to find the right tool can make a huge impact.