Understanding Your Memory Problems and Tips For Coping With Them

Coping with memory loss

Memory problems can be experienced differently by different people. Read about common types of memory loss and our tips to help you cope and manage your feelings.

Types of memory problems

Memory problems vary from person to person. What you consider to be a problem depends partly on what you need or expect to be able to do.

Some very common memory problems include:

  • forgetting people’s names
  • struggling to remember day-to-day events or experiences
  • misplacing items (such as keys or glasses) around the house
  • getting lost in a familiar place or on a familiar journey
  • finding it hard to start or follow conversations
  • forgetting appointments or important dates (such as birthdays)
  • struggling with the steps in a recipe.

Managing your feelings about memory loss

You may find the following tips helpful.

  • Talk to others, such as friends, family or other people experiencing memory problems. They might have some helpful suggestions, and you may be able to find solutions together.
  • Do the things that you’re comfortable with.
  • Start with the memory problems that are having the most impact on your life. For example, regularly misplacing items like a mobile phone or keys.
  • Try to focus on the things you can remember and can do. You may well have a good memory of events from many years ago. There will still be many things you are able to do that you learned in the past.

Tips to help you cope with memory problems

Many people find the following approaches helpful. It’s a good idea to try out different approaches and discover which ones work best for you.

Build on the skills you still have

You will still have skills even if you have memory problems. For example, if you’ve always been an organiser and good at planning, make the most of this when facing new challenges.

Stay in a regular routine

Set up a regular daily routine. This will make it easier to remember what will happen over the course of the day. Include time to relax as part of the routine. Keep some variety and stimulation, such as meeting up with a friend or going out to the shops, so you don’t get bored.

Try to manage your time

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find something more difficult than you used to. You could take some time out and come back to it again later, or think about different ways to manage the task. You could make a note to finish the task as a reminder to yourself later on.

Try to do the most challenging things at the time of day when you have the most energy and can concentrate best. Avoid them if you feel tired, anxious, or unwell. Take your time.

Talk about your day

If you’ve been out for the day, talk to your partner, or a friend or family member afterwards about it. This is a good way of remembering and feeling positive about what you’ve done that day.