Sunday, January 15, 2006

forgetfulness (memory loss)

As people age, forgetfulness becomes more common. Learning little strategies to deal with this difficulty eases the problem and can help avoid embarrassing situations. The following is a list of such strategies.
• Recalling a name is usually the most frequent type of memory loss. To recall someone's name, a person should review everything he or she knows about that person. The elderly person should slowly and deliberately go through the alphabet and try to pronounce the name. If that person will be in a setting with a large group of people, it helps to review in advance the names of the people who will be there. When an elderly person is introducing someone and cannot recall that person's name, it may help to pass it off lightheartedly by saying that he or she always forgets the names of those he or she most wants to remember or joking about how often one can forget one's own name.
• When something occurs to a forgetful person that he or she wants to be sure to remember, it may help to do some physical thing to help remember: for instance, hanging an umbrella on the doorknob as a reminder to take it if rain is predicted.
• If one needs to take pills at a certain time, it may be useful to connect it to something else one does at that time-brushing one's teeth, for example. A pill case can be attached to your toothbrush with the correct number of pills for the day. Or a quarter of the day's calendar could be blackened each time one takes medicine that is needed four times a day.
• Appointments are easier to remember if a large wall calendar is hung in a prominent place and entries made promptly.
• To remember events or duties within the framework of a few hours, the use of a timer may be helpful.
Developing corrective strategies will enable an individual to lead a more enjoyable life.
Skinner, B. F. and Vaughan, M. E. "When the Words Won't Come Back," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 59. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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