Back Up Your Memory - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Back Up Your Memory


You can...back up your memory

Memory problems hit up to 60% of people with MS.

The good news is that You CAN compensate for your shaky memory. In general, there are two ways:

  • Remediation — exercises designed to improve memory function usually developed by a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or neuropsychologist.
  • Compensation — strategies designed to make up for or avoid memory lapses.

Tools rule

You can start using compensation strategies immediately to supplement your memory.

  • Be more organized.
  • Use memory aids.

Here are some suggestions:

At Home

Consolidate and centralize! Designate one place in your home as the “Grand Central” information center.

Put up a calendar large enough to keep track of everyone’s appointments, activities, and social engagements, with pens or markers hanging right beside it.

OR keep a computer in a central area with a calendar program. Set it up with a monthly schedule of reminders for routine tasks. Log on at regular times every day.

Make a place for mail, bills, phone messages, to-do lists, keys, wallet, shopping lists, and more.

If your reminders and information are scattered everywhere, your chances of forgetting obligations skyrockets.

On the Go

Take a small notebook or day planner with you as an extension of the home calendar. Log appointments, phone calls, things to do, and important instructions every day.

OR use a personal digital assistant (PDA) or a Blackberry. Program your PDA to remind you of tasks or appointments.

OR use a digital voice recorder to record your to-do list or other things to remember. It’s also easy to make notes to yourself on the go. Many can transfer information to a computer program.

Whatever tool, keep it with you at all times and transfer information to/from the home calendar regularly.

Other tips

  • Keep the system simple! Limit your memory aids to one at home and one to go. This should make backing up your memory manageable and stress-free.
  • Use your memory tools consistently. Routine makes it easier to remember and get things done.


Author: Janet De Clark, MA, CCC/SLP, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis