Tips For The Memory-Impaired

Tips For The Memory-Impaired

I’ve often said, “I’ve had dementia since I was 25 years old.” So, I’ve had to come up with some useful tips for the memory-impaired just to keep up.

My Top Three Tips For The Memory-Impaired

There are three distinct areas where I have had issues with memory. The first one has only started within the last few years. But it’s a scary one.

Remembering to Turn Off the Burners

There have been a handful of times in the last few years where I have forgotten to turn off a stovetop burner after I was finished cooking. In one case, there was a cast-iron skillet over a low flame for over an hour.  There was an obvious need to figure out how to never let that happen again.  I googled “forgetting to turn off stove” and found a few ideas that might have helped. But most of the ideas were simply trying to set up a habitual routine. I didn’t think they would work for me.  I needed something more foolproof for such a dangerous problem.

So here’s what I do (if you watched my egg foo yung video, you may have noticed I used my technique.

I keep a rubber band on the knobs for the two front burners of my stove.

Stove Knob Rubber Band 01

Whenever I turn on a burner on the right side of the stove, I put the rubber band on my right wrist. Whenever I turn on a burner on the left side, I put the rubber band on my left wrist. When I turn off burners, I replace the rubber band.

Stove Knob Rubber Band 02

So, If I’m sitting down to eat, and there is a rubber band on either of my wrists, it’s a reminder to check the burners.

Organizing Multi-Factorial Projects

Design ideas for knitwear. Organizing the Men’s Knitting Retreats. Updating various web sites (including this blog). All of these require remembering and/or tracking various tasks, or ideas.  I needed a tool that I could “jot” down ideas in various formats. Copying a link, inserting a table of data, embedding a photo, making a to-do list, setting calendar reminders.  I also needed a tool that would be able to organize these very different areas of my life. And that was quickly searchable. And that I could use on my phone or desktop.

Microsoft OneNote added decades to my ability to organize and remember things.

Microsoft OneNote Notebook View

I’ve shared about this tool before. It’s like having a multiple multi-topic notebooks with me at all time. Virtual notebooks that interact with my calendar, set up to-do lists, store photo ideas and web site links. I can access the notebooks on my phone and my desktop. And the search functionality is exceptional. As an added bonus, I can share specific notebooks with others when a project requires collaboration (like the Men’s Knitting Retreats).

Remembering Names

One of the bigger success stories regarding my memory, is how good I’ve gotten at remember peoples’ names.  This “tip” isn’t a simple technique. It’s a handful of different techniques. Each technique for remembering by itself wasn’t very helpful for me. But all together, I have actually become quite good at remember names.

When I first meet someone new, I do a few things;

  1. I use their name as often as I can in the initial conversation. Sometimes I have to just do that in my mind, because repeating a person’s name doesn’t always sound very natural.
  2. Coming up with a mnemonic or a clever way of remembering their name helps a lot. Nick, our nice neighbor becomes Nice-nick in my mind. Tommy who forgets to go off mute in a Zoom meeting becomes “Tommy can you hear me?” Audrey, the short woman at the coffee shop becomes “Little Audrey.”
  3. Finally, I’ll type their name. I’ll add a person to my Contacts (even if I don’t know their phone number or any of their contact information). In comments, I write how I know the person, the name of their dog or cat, the spouse’s or children’s names, etc.). Just typing their name, gives me a visual memory that helps.

Like I wrote initially, none of these techniques works really well by itself. But 2 or more techniques has made me quite good at remembering names.

What are your memory tips and tricks?

Current Knitting

As I make more and more progress on the Wellness in Pink (in Green) scarf, I am liking it more and more.

Wellen in Pink in Green 03-31-21 02

Wellen in Pink in Green 03-31-21 01

The graphic motif of this design is really pleasing to me. The repeats are also starting to feel more and more natural as I knit them.

5 comments on “Tips For The Memory-Impaired

  1. BTW, I tried your egg fu yung recipe and it was a big hit. My husband, who is Cantonese, loved it. I have never mastered it satisfactorily. He said this was like his mother’s. High praise indeed. Thank you.

  2. I’m a visual learner, always have been. If I see it in writing I am about 99% certain to remember it. Telling me something is ‘chancy’ if I don’t have it in writing also. I’ve tried at resturants to remember waitstaff names when they say them, even repeat them back to them, but writing is the best for me. I’m not saying it is for everyone, I just know my learning style and it is visual not aural. 🙂

  3. Great tips, I need to write things down as well for me.
    That’s a beautiful scarf and looks so delicate ☮️💖

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