Memory Tools | Age Right

Memory Tools

How has your memory been over the last couple of days? If it’s like mine, I find it fluctuates depending on how much sleep, stress and multitasking I’m doing for the week. Having four young boys I need to keep in mind their busy schedules with multiple notifications from the school, cubs, swimming, football, piano, little athletics etc during the week to also read and manage. This can be overwhelming at times. So, it is a timely reminder that I need to stop and consider if my memory is holding up and can I support it or optimise it to decrease my frustrations and stress. The cognitive stress of daily living is increasing in this fast-paced technology driven society. If you are a carer for an older person, then the number of medical appointments and investigations can also be overwhelming at times requiring their own calendar or personal assistant.

As we age, our ability to manage this also declines due to our memory banks being at capacity. We need to employ tools and strategies to assist so that we are remembering the important things we need to. There are lots of tools and strategies available. Some people like to use the electronic digital apps and reminders which is my go-to as well as having a family calendar to remind me of all the important dates including who needs to take their library books back to school and who needs to wear their sports uniform on what day.

Some people use a big diary and pop everything into that. Some people use sticky notes and pop them on the front door or dining room table. Which one works for you? Is it working or do you need to rethink about your strategies and tools? There are lots of options, tools and strategies.

Earlier this year, I was invited to sit in on our first Memory program held at the Malvern East Age Right rooms for our patients and families run by the renowned clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Anne Unkenstein who has published the book: “Memory-wise: How memory works and what to do when it doesn’t”. If you haven’t read her book, I would highly recommend it. I have read it a couple of times already. The memory program has been licenced from the La Trobe University and Caulfield hospital

During our Memory program which consisted of two hours each week for six weeks, different strategies and tools were discussed in detail allowing people to identify which ones might work best for them. It was a useful program and I’m happy to say that we have now run the program three times with great feedback from the participants at the Malvern East rooms. The admin staff at Age Right are also rotating through the program as a perk of working at the rooms and enjoying the experience and small group involvement.

Recently when I attended a geriatric medicine conference I used one of the strategies to record the location of my car- just one of the many tactics discussed at the course. Also when I went to Chadstone shopping centre I also took a photo just in case I needed it at the end of shopping. There are lots of time we can use these tools in our lives to make life easier.