Memory is definitely getting
The Cognitive Rehabilitation for Attention and Memory in people with Multiple Sclerosis (CRAMMS) study will focus on these MS related symptoms and begin to recruit patients in April 2015. I already know that I have a very poor memory. What do I use to help my memory and make my life with multiple sclerosis that little bit easier?
The most basic thing is ‘do not be afraid to ask for help’ but remember to smile as you ask.
I am a bit of a computer geek
I am totally dependent upon the computer diary and I use the Outlook package by Microsoft. It definitely helps to remember appointments. I used to use a Filofax but that became impractical because my writing is not good in fact it is almost childish. By the time I had put in two appointments for the day that was it, no more space.
The big transition was setting up an electronic diary, going from my beloved Filofax to something else. The Filofax has been my trusty companion for 14 years. It has gone all over the world, now it is sitting unloved and ignored in a drawer. Anyway back to the subject. The Outlook calendar is essential to my life. If there is an entry in Outlook then I’m happy the activity has been booked. I always look at my Outlook calendar last thing in the evening and first thing in the morning so I know what I have got planned.
When I go shopping I have to have a shopping list. At home I have a ‘to do’ list. One for jobs around the house and one for Aid4disabled. I used to be good at knowing the approximate time of day, now I am very bad at keeping track of time. In the evening I will look at my watch and realize that a couple of hours have disappeared. I have been busy but do not seem to be able to keep track of time.
Another problem, If I suddenly think of something that needs doing then either I must do it immediately or add it to one of my ‘to-do’ lists. If I try and remember it then it’s hopeless because I will forget it. There is always a shopping list on the kitchen table so if it is something I can buy in town then it goes on the list.
I lose concentration much more easily, I get side tracked all the time. Suddenly find I realise I have lost the plot of a film or play. I cannot go to a foreign film with subtitles. In other words watch the film and read the words, and I cannot walk and talk but I can iron clothes while listening to the radio.
These are a non-starter for me. For example think of five examples of fruit and vegetables for each letter in the alphabet. Believe it or not I do presentations, I can do very short ones from memory otherwise I need a crib sheet, I’m getting older. Yes, age does have a part to play but I know my cognitive skills are not as good as they were. Names and phone numbers have taken a real hit.
As you get older so your cognitive function tends to get worse but MS accelerates the problems. I have developed strategies to make my life easier. I’m sure there are masses of people who need a method to cope with memory problems. CRAMMS might help.