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