I lost my car keys. Where did i leave it? I’ve searched everywhere. You know what? It doesn’t matter. I won’t need them until I find my car.
I’m 80 years old. My 83 year old husband has to supply the tip of my tongue with missing words. “Where did I put the purple stuff?” He replies, “You mean the grape juice, and it’s on the counter, right there.”
It bothers all of us ‘of a certain age’. When we remember to think about it. Well, I’m thinking about it now, and before I forget, here are six tricks I’ve found extremely useful for solving the ‘I’ve lost it!’ syndrome. They’re easy, and I’m not going to harass you to learn mnemonic devices.
1. Find a basket for everything you routinely use-your eyeglasses, house and car keys, cell phone, pill box. Keep it in the exact same place. Once you’re firmly in the habit of going to that exact spot, you’ll always find everything there. Hey, I trained my schnauzer. I can certainly train myself.
3. Something on the tip of the tongue you can’t recall? Like the purple stuff? Try reciting the alphabet and when you get to the right letter the word starts with, chances are it will pop into mind.
4. Put something down and can’t find it five minutes later? Could you have thrown it in the trash? It happens. Don’t let it happen again. Pay attention! Concentrate! Visualize in your mind a detailed picture. Say it out loud. “I put my file with medical bills on the bedroom dresser.” How hard is that? Focusing is the key. Worse case, if you’ve been absent-minded, retrace everywhere you’ve been. You’ll find it.
5. Remembering names? Hopeless, probably. The real problem isn’t memory, it’s indifference. My husband has never been able to remember names. Never. But even at his age, if a good-looking woman is introduced to him, somehow he remembers her name. Funny how that works. When you meet someone new, try starting a brief conversation.
6. Did I do it? Did I turn off the oven? Did I lock the door to the house? Did I put the garage door down? When you leave the house, just say out loud 2 or 3 times, “I’m turning off the oven. Check. “I’ve taken my pills.” Check. “I shut the garage door.” Check.
All of us seniors joke about our loss of short term memory, but of course it’s no joke at all. The real solution for most things is to write everything down, or dictate it to a small recorder.
So there you have it. It’s not rocket science. It’s mostly common sense, really. The trick is just to do it.
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