A typical caregiver has far too many things to remember: Did I turn off the gas after I scrambled those eggs? What time is Dad’s appointment with the cardiologist? Is this the week that Mother has her every-other-week blood work? Remembering such things is a crucial part of being good caregiver.
Improving your ability to remember things is key. Here are a few tips that may improve your memory:
- Write it down. This one is so basic, yet people often resist it. The fact is that writing something down is an easy way to help you remember it, and it helps in two ways: (1) The act of writing helps reinforce the information in your memory, and (2) you have a physical reminder in the form of the note that the information is written on.
- Go electronic. Advances in electronics have made the old string around the finger obsolete. Take advantage of the electronics age to give yourself reminders. Make a few pop-up appointments in your Outlook calendar. Set your watch alarm to go off when it’s time for that visit to the doctor. Ask your husband to text you a reminder about Billy’s baseball practice.
- Talk to yourself. Repeating things out loud can help to reinforce information as well. Tell your spouse, sibling, child, or friend that it would be helpful if you could just go over the things that you need to do each day. Repeat the list to yourself once or twice during the day. Talking to yourself is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to your memory.
- Be mnemonic. A mnemonic device is something you use to remember information. For example, if you are running to the grocery store and don’t have a written list, you might tell yourself you need to pick up SAM – salad, artichokes and mustard.
- Push yourself. Keeping your brain active helps sharpen your memory, so don’t be afraid to engage in activities that challenge you a little. Try a crossword puzzle that’s a little harder than usual. Give those Sudoku puzzles a whirl. Read a book or article about something that is unfamiliar to you or in a genre that you are not typically attracted to.
These tips can help you improve your ability to remember things, including how to be a great caregiver. Even if you are already an amazing caregiver, that’s an area where you can never be too good.