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We can all use some help when it comes to remembering things, but having a top notch memory is especially important for family caregivers. Most of the time, caregivers have extremely full schedules and dozens of things to remember: Did I remember to give Mom her medicine this morning? Is today the day that Grandfather sees the dentist? Have I set up the auto-billing on my new credit card?

Caregiving duties, and all the other day-to-day tasks, are easier when a person’s memory is operating at full force. Luckily, there are several ways to help improve your memory.

Talk it out (with yourself, if necessary).


An article in Psychology Today discusses a study which states that talking about something helps to cement it in our minds. In the study, people were given a list of words and read half of them out loud and the other half of them silently to themselves. They did a much better job of recalling those words they spoke out loud than the ones they merely read. When you have important things to remember, try talking about them with a friend or relative at the start of the day. If no one else is available, don’t be afraid to talk to yourself!

Pick up that pen.


Just as saying things out loud can help us remember, so can writing them down. Taking the time to write yourself a note not only forces you to focus your attention on the subject. You have to think about it first, then reinforce it as you write it down. It also helps that you then have a written reminder to carry with you or stumble across throughout the day. That’s why keeping a memo pad or eraser board in places like the kitchen or near the front door can be handy. Don’t forget to have pen and paper handy in the living and bedroom to jot things down as they occur to you.

Use technology.


In some ways, technology can increase forgetfulness because we are constantly bombarded with messages and information. This can cause memory overload, however, there also are excellent technology tools that can help a person remember important things. For example, one blogger is fond of a particular app that she uses as a reminder for all of the various tasks you may have throughout the day. But there are many other ways to use technology to help remember things. Set up a reminder about a doctor visit on your electronic calendar, cell phone or tablet. Tell your daughter to text you a half hour before she comes to pick up Grandmother. Find out how to set that alarm on your wristwatch and set it to go off every day when it’s time for Father’s afternoon medication.

Try some fish oil.


Hey, if it works for Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench, maybe it can work for you. As Dame Judi discusses in an interview, she finds that taking fish oil supplements helps her remember her lines. There’s a scientific basis for it too. Some studies indicate that Omega-3 fatty acid supplements do indeed help boost memory retention. You can purchase supplements at any of your local pharmacies or grocery stores. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be straight fish oil!

Use your fists.


This sounds odd, but some studies have shown that clenching your fist when have something fairly long or detailed to remember can help aid its recall. To be most effective, a person should squeeze something, such as a stress ball, for 45 seconds while concentrating on the information they need to remember. They should hold the ball in the hand they use to write. Later, clench the fist on the opposite hand when you need to remember the information.

Think mnemonically.


This is an old trick, but one that still works beautifully. Try to associate the things you need to remember with an image or an acronym. When you dash off to the store because you must get rosemary, oregano, salt and eggs, create an acronym – ROSE – from the first letter of each item. This article has more information on mnemonics that can help.

Memory retention is an excellent goal, and one that the trained staff from HomeHero can assist with. Sometimes the issue isn’t memory retention, it’s work overload. Their expertise can provide valuable support to make caregiving more manageable.

How do you help jolt your memory? What problems have you had as a caregiver when it comes to remembering some of the most important tasks? Have any tips to share with us? Send us your thoughts on Twitter @HomeHero or share a comment of Facebook!

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