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How to help with memory loss

Hello, I'm new. My husband has got a brain injury and waiting for a place at a rehab. Can someone tell me what I can do meantime to help him improve his memory? Thanks for advise.

11 Replies

Hi Yoda

If youe husbands bi is very recent it maybe hard to give general advice plus without knowing extent of problems it can be impossible.

Also not all aids help everyone and not in all situations.

Having said this how about keeping a joyrnal. It will get him used to thinking and planing ( as in what to write) but also is a great tool to chart progress.

There are many aids to use to manage memory. Think of it first as not memoey loss but memory recall problem.

Things to aide recall may be the use of notes , white boards, a diary , note book etc.

Mainly try not to " run before you can walk" . Rehab will help as they know the exact problems your husband has.

I am sorry that this may not offer the help you need. Please keep in touch as time goes on and hopefully more help will be availabe.

Good luck Pax.


Headway do a great workbook - I used it to discover which pathways were missing, then focused on each one to recover. I used it over a 2 year period.

Headway fact sheets (effects of brain injury section) would be a useful place to start.

Best of luck


Hi, I did a small family photo album for hubby in his early days, about a dozen photos with names of who it was underneath. This seemed to help when someone came to visit and when he was trying to remember who had been. The Headway workbook was great a few months post rehab, I left it on the table where he had breakfast and he would look at it most days without knowing he was re training his brain. And some sort of calendar, paper, whiteboard or in our case iPad. His iPad has become invaluable as we all write everything, from remembering to post a letter to someone's birthday in it. He then can check as many times as he needs to without having to keep asking or me having to keep reminding, or nagging him. That and emails which he can go back and re read. I would say for him the iPad and workbook were the two most useful tools. Good luck. Xx


Sorry but this is a very very slow process , we have now moved on from post-its to an iPad which has a very useful calendar with reminder functions . My wife had a SAR in 2000 and we started with a chalk board then moved on to written lists and post-its and finally the iPad . so this was difficult for me as I wanted to rush things on but you can not . Patience you have Yoda.


Although brain injury does affect memory, much of memory loss is down to perception and age. Many of us believe our memory is getting worse because we are constantly told we lose our memory as we are getting older when in fact the reverse is true, our memory improves with age. You ask a primary school child to recall half the information of an octogenarian and I think the octogenarian will win hands down; the octogenarian’s memory capacity is far greater than the primary school child because of their life of experience.

All the octogenarian’s short term memory does diminish much of this is down to sheer laziness. As a humans we do not need to remember the things in short term memory therefore because we rely more on reflex; we have always done it therefore we do not need to remember how to. As a result we lose our ability to remember things in short term memory. Whereas a primary school child relies heavily on their short term memory because they have not built up that huge array of long term memories; they cannot live without their short-term memory, i.e. they have nothing else to turn to.

Now add to that brain injury or dementia where you struggle to articulate what is in your longer term memory and your body goes into panic or frustration!

All you need to do is to write down lists and reminders (such as photographs) and to start to trigger your short term memory again. Start to use it a little more. Give it a little more exercise. It will become active again, and over time the synapses will start to fire and you can then articulate what is in your longer term memory to. You have not lost anything. Your brain is a muscle and it is just a little damaged.

Start to use your other senses again and give your brain chance to catch up. Once you relax it will all come back; it will just take a few moths. Rely on paper and pen for then time being and don’t be scared if you lose your words for the moment. Those that are nearest and dearest will be patient.


johnny-one untrue the reason for memory loss as we get older is due to the amount of knowledge we ve logged therefore it takes longer to process a question



What I would do is to separate the memory problems into several categories

dangerous - e.g does he remember to turn off the gas / electric

routine - meals, medicine

hygiene - washing etc.

day to day life - appointments etc.

Irritating - forgetting to do things, birthdays etc.

work on the things that are important to both of you.

Early on I used to leave doors open cars (caused a traffic once by leaving a car door open on a busy road!) front doors and the gas regularly when I attempted to cook. So you may have to go round after him and check things.

Getting into a routine is the thing I used to find helped a lot. Getting up and the same time meals and rest at set points. Putting things in the same place each time and limiting change. The most important thing is to eliminate stress and multiple things to consider at the same time.

Subtle things like early on my wife used to ask me "do you want a cheese sandwich, ham sandwich, pie or soup etc. for lunch a lot list of things and by the time she got to the end I couldn't remember and get frustrated. So it changed to "cheese sandwich ok for lunch" - simple.

Simple things like sitting down and playing Solitare or jigsaws are great things to improve memory and start the repair of the pathways. They also serve as a means to allow the brain to focus on one thing

Hope it helps


Hi Yoda. I found that the most basic tools were the best place to start in aiding memory. Things like notes posted around the house to remind your husband to do things etc. this is a good place to start and causes minimal stress. The next stage would be to keep a journal of daily events and occurrences. Hope his helps.


Hi Yoda,

I am a strong believer in using natural remedies/products, not pharmaceutical medicines, I no longer trust them. So one of the things I would do to help with your hubbies memory is to keep inhaling rosemary.

Either from the plant or from a bottle of essential oil. If you do get some essential oil, make sure it is 100% therapeutic grade or 100% pure essential oil.

I have got some Frankincense essential oil and apparently that is good for brain injuries.

Read up on essential oils on the internet, I am sure you could find something natural to help.

Take care,



Hi. Yes Headway is your best place at present. I had my B/I in 1998 & I had to wait nearly 2yrs for my NHS a Rehab. I had to work out my own strategies at home which I incorporated in both Headyway's & the NHS Rehab's Please let me know if I can help you. Steve.


agree small family album of important people. if he doesnt remember who they are as adults insert pics of them as children. smells he liked gentle things he may have liked to do before his memory loss,,,,,,anything that will get him talking oh forgot something that could be very important MUSIC


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