How can I help my memory?

If you are experiencing memory problems there are plenty of things you can do to help make life easier. Here are some tips that other people have found helpful.

Coping with everyday life

  • Keep track by making ‘to do’ lists.
  • Break up tasks into bite-sized chunks to make them more manageable.
  • Try to do one thing at a time, tackling too many things at once can be confusing.
  • Try to have a routine to give structure to your day and help you remember what you are supposed to be doing.
  • Take your time – there’s no hurry.

Memory aids

  • Use clocks, wear a watch, put up a calendar and think about taking a daily newspaper to help you keep track of time. nurse and patient looking at photographs
  • Consider keeping a diary in which you can note down appointments, ‘to do’ lists and anything else you want to remember.
  • Use sticky-backed notes to help remind you of things you have to do.
  • Keep important things such as money, keys or spectacles in the same place, so you always know where to find them.
  • Keep important phone numbers by the phone so they are always on hand.
  • Arrange to pay regular bills by direct debit or standing order. It can take a while to get into the habit of using these memory aids, so give yourself time and persevere.

Dealing with other people

  • Try not to be embarrassed if you forget something. If the right word or piece of information escapes you, don’t try too hard. Once you stop trying it will often pop into your head.
  • We all need help from time to time and other people are usually only too happy to be asked. Talk to family and friends about how they can help and support you.

Help protect your memory

nurse and woman doing jigsaw puzzleAge and medical history are risk factors for developing dementia but others such as diet, exercise and lifestyle are thought to have influence too. No one can guarantee that you will not develop dementia, but some of the following may help keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp as you age.

Reduce your salt intake

Salt can increase blood pressure and this increases the risk of developing dementia. Try not to add more at the table and try to buy low-salt versions of pre-prepared foods.  Look at the labels – less than 0.3g salt per 100g is low salt, more than 1.5g per 100g is high salt.

Eat healthily

  • Enjoy your food, and eat a wide variety of different foods to make sure you get a full range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and limit the amount of high-fat, sugary and salty foods you eat.
  • Eat more oily fish such as sardines and salmon and have less red meat.

Get active

Try to be active for 30 minutes at least five times a week. You don’t have to join a gym or take strenuous exercise – walking, dancing, gardening and housework will all keep you fit.

man in swimming poolWatch your blood pressure and cholesterol

Talk to your GP about how to keep these within healthy limits. There are new treatments, which especially when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, can help to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol within normal limits.

Keep a healthy weight

Increased weight can lead to a risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease which increases the risk of dementia. Aim for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 for optimal health.

Dementia portal

The Knowledge and Library Service at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provide information about dementia in a portal. You can find that information here: http://www.netvibes.com/dbhlibrary#Dementia

(The portal is best viewed in Google Chrome, Safari or IE10 or above)