Cognitive tips

I thought we could start a serious of posts on tips each of us may have for different issues. Here are 2 things that I do in this are:

1) I have a large wall calendar and each time I take a pill (while it is in my mouth) I write the time and the pill name abreviation on the calendar day. Got tired of wondering if I took the pill or not.

2) I'm still minimally working, so I stay somewhat mentally challenged, but I do have 2 websites that I like to use. Free crossword puzzles online Simple mental games. Both free and pay portions. Have read recently that speed games have proven to be the most beneficial for brain health.

Anyone else have a tip to share?

110 Replies

oldest β€’ newest
  • Great idea, Iona60! At my cognitive therapy session, the speech therapist taught me a way to follow recipes-even those I've made for decades! (I tend to lose my place and can't remember if I added an ingredient. This isn't foolproof, but I've thrown out or started all over from scratch less often now.)

    Make a copy of the recipe you are going to use.

    Measure all your ingredients and line them up on your counter in the order given in the recipe.

    As you add each item, cross it off your recipe copy. When done, throw the recipe copy away.

    This doesn't guarantee you'll set the oven at the correct temp or remember something is on the stove or in the oven, though!! 😬

  • Another great suggestion Tutu

  • Making a copy and crossing each item off is a great idea. I always turn the stove off when I leave the room and set the microwave timer for the oven. It keeps beeping until I turn it off.

  • Great suggestion Iona60 I'm def going to check out those websites. Like crosswords. I'm currently addicted to Freecell (kind of like solitaire). I did Lumosity for awhile and got good at their games. I do the same with pills.

    1. I keep a small notebook of future goals and tasks and check them off as I accomplish --ex. Follow up on available courses

    2. I create a daily to do list. It keeps me on track. Otherwise I get easily distracted

  • I also keep a daily to do list. The goals list is a great idea.

  • Oh, and a note on your puzzle link:

    Isn't it interesting that I can work (and enjoy) a crossword puzzle, but games like scrabble, where I have to create a new word out of thin air frustrate me?

    I believe that might be due to 'damage' to different parts of the brain. I can edit a story far better than I create one these days.

    Those with creative/organizational/spacial cognitive problems (like me) ought to try crosswords. If you can't think of the word, move on. Go back to the beginning after going through all the clues. Still can't guess it? Move on. I toss out unfinished crosswords, but I don't get frustrated or upset with myself. πŸ’•

  • The crossword puzzle site I mentioned will fill in a word or a letter for you if you ask it to.

  • I'll check it out. Thanks!

  • I made a "Word" document list of all my doctors, kids, and close friends that has their phone numbers, addresses, birthday info for kids and friends. I keep it in a sheet protector taped onto the wall by the kitchen phone. Also lists favorite take-out numbers. I can update and reprint whenever needed..

    I also keep a stack of post-its handy for writing notes to myself..

  • I LOVE post-it notes! Where's Blue51? She can chime in here too. She's my post-it note sister. 😊

  • Wait.... greaterexp you have a kitchen phone? They still have thos?

    I'm kidding :D

  • We've kept house phone for hubby's business plus extensions in bedrooms for convenience. Their time is limited though. Been trying to get him to retire.

  • Gotha greaterexp we had a truck hit the phone line here and they just took it down all together. So l went thru the place and cut all the inside phone lines. :D

  • There are word games on FB that are fun to play. I also have jigsaw puzzle apps and Majhong game apps that are fun.

  • A friend with MS has bribed me to learn mah jongg. I went to 2 classes and am going to her house Tuesday to join in...should be humiliating 😬

  • Hope you have fun. I've heard that some of these mah jongg groups can be ruthless. Maybe they will take pity on you until you learn and can keep up with them.

  • I Hope so too!

  • I love the game.....hope you enjoy it. It takes a while to get the hang of it.

  • I've never done that.. just have a good time.

  • I'm not much of a reader, and not too social . So, I started a book club with friends and friends of friends . Loose, at best. We drink a little wine, eat food and discuss the book we may have read, or partially read, or didn't read at all. We take turns choosing the books. It's fun, motivating and forces me to articulate thoughts into words. A great exercise in cognition, great exercise in feeling a part of humanity .

  • Sounds like my book club, minus the wine. I'm a huge reader and one of the few who reads the books. It's great social time though! Here's a helpful hint we found. Find a library with book club sets of books. This really increased the number of those reading each month because we no longer had to wait for copies.

  • Good_enough and StacyHayward any good book recommendations? I used to love to read. Still do but it takes me longer to get through a book and it's harder to get motivated to get into them.

  • erash Have you read 'Devil in the White City'? It's about a seriel killer at the time of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. I didn't want to put it down. They made it into a movie an Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in it.

  • Thanks for the recommendation Judi4. I have this book and will read it.

  • I did read that liked. Is the movie already out?

    Even better, same author is In the Garden of the Beast.

  • erash Some time 2017 is the release. I just hope they do the movie justice. I hate when they change the storyline.

  • Me too! Books usually better than movie. But it f it's been enough time since I read the book, I don't mean nd as much when I see the movie (ex. Girl on the Train)

  • erash Have not read Girl on a Train, or saw the movie. Have heard this it's really good.

  • We loved Still Alice. also recently read several by Kate Morton. Long books but good. Orphan Train, Magic of Ordinary Days and The Language of flowers were others we've recently read.

  • StacyHayward still Alice was fantastic. Julianne Moore played the role perfectly. The author, lisa Genova, a neuroscientist, has written several other really good books.

  • Just read Letters For Emily last night and loved it!!!

  • I love to read erash but l shake, and can't hold the book still. Grrr l love Stephen King and Johanna Lyndsay (romance, ghost)

    She is a very easy read.

  • Jesmcd2 are audiobooks an option? I use a book easel to hold the paper books and I bet they have something for kindle. Would that help?

  • Jesmcd2 I listen to audio books on my cell, which I get free from Librivox. Erash gets hers from the library.

  • Those are great ideas erash and Iona60 l have amazon prime so lm sure l can find free audio books on there. I will have to ck our the librivox, as l have never heard of it :)

  • Jesmcd2, My husband got me a Sony reader for Christmas. It is very light weight, you can increase the font and it has a light behind the screen. I borrow my ebooks from our library and absolutely LOVE it!

  • That's a great idea SueAB , borrowing ebooks from the library. I wonder if ours does that.. and if l can get them online. It's way to cold to go outside lol

    Jes πŸŽ„

  • I've been reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tart since last November . It's a big book, but it is good .

  • Good_enough itried, but couldn't get past the first pages of Goldfinch and I know it's won major awards!

  • Erash, I might be a butinsky, but I just enjoyed Norah Roberts "Obsession" and the best seller "The Couple Next Door", but I can't remember the author

  • Great idea!

  • What great ideas! I would bet nearly all of can relate!

    One trick I have used for years, even before MS, is to get out all ingredients for a recipe and line them up to the right of my mixing bowl or pot. After I add something, I set it to the left.

    Though I'm not on any DMT, I use one of those daily pill boxes for our supplements. My darling husband is AM, and I am PM. Maybe I should be AM for "Absent Minded."

    Thanks for the tips!

  • AM=Absent Minded. πŸ˜‚ Love it!

  • Trying to think of something for PM. How about - Patient Man

  • That is surely my husband. I'd change our system, but do I need to confuse myself more?

  • Lona60, it's Fancy1959 and yes of course I would love to share a little bit. What an awesome post you have created Miss Lona! Here's 2 tips and help me to keep organized and to make it to various places on time.

    1. I have 3 of those small plastic pill boxes that are in different colors. The white I use for mornings, the red is midday, and the black i use fior bedtime. Every morning i seperate my pills up for the day in my little colored pill boxes. I haven't missed a pill in a long tme. Oh, then i keep a pillbox in my purse in casewe do something during the day.

    2.I've gotten where i only use my cell phone's calandar to keep track of doctors appointments and other appointment. I have figured out how to make my alert reminde give me a 90 minute heads up about appointments. That gives me enough time to be to the appointment on time. The second benefit is that my phone is always with me so I never miss glancing at the calendar in the house.

    I read the comments presented before mine and so far there are a lot of great ideas. Thanks so much for starting this post Lona. Remember together we are stronger.

  • Fancy1959 I use my cell phone to set reminders to take pills as mine are spaced out throughout the day. It has saved me many times.

  • I use the cell for an alarm clock for my "shots".... I would never remember to take them b/c they're 3 times a week. I don't have a problem with my daily pills because its when I get and when I go to bed. But the ms shots I would NEVER remember w/o my cell phone. What did we ever do w/o cell phones. Aren't we lucky!

  • Well now, here I have to say a loud DUHHHHHH!!!

    Eileeng, the reason I chose to stay on the daily Copaxone is because of my daily routine. Now I will reconsider knowing I can use my phone calendar!

    Once again just because . . . DUHHHH!!!

  • Yes, EileenD and MarciaG, when I was on Copaxone and switched from daily to 3 times, I would forget to take it. Hadn't started using my cell phone reminders at that point.

  • I do the same thing Eileeng if it wasn't for the Copaxone app l would always forget my shot :(

  • Fancy1959 keepng track of pills is so very important! Can't tell you how many times I have to weigh either skipping or taking an extra pill because I can't remember if I just put one in my mouth.

    I use my smart phone too but I wish I could print out something that doesn't say 3+ items on a specific date so I could post on my fridge and look at more than a day at a time. I'm using google calendar. Any recommendations?

  • Oh my. How many times have I done the same thing and it frustrates me so much!

    One day as I was scrolling through FB posts, I saw an ad about Pill Pack. I responded to it and viola! It is AWESOME!!! They contact your providers to insure the prescription is correct. Then each month they send you prepackaged packs of meds with the day and time each is to be taken. Best of all . . . there is no charge for their service!

  • Def will look into that!

  • Try writing it on the calendar on hitting done on your cell phone with the pill in your mouth. It's the only way I can keep track. The Pill Pack place sounds too good to be true. Also, what do you do with your as needed pills?

  • You would take that up with Pill Pack, but there's a pill I take 2 or 3 times a day, depending on how I feel. I guess that's an as needed pill. They put that in at the 2:00 (second set of pills) and if I don't need it, I put it in the pill bottle I had from before I began with Pill Pack. Probably within the next couple of months I will ask them to eliminate the 3rd pill for a while until I catch up.

    BTW, a week before the new pack is sent to you, they send you an e-mail asking if any changes are necessary.

  • Your kidding. I can't believe there's no charge. Good for you.... πŸ˜€

  • There is a calendar builder app on the Internet. You can make weekly, monthly or annual calendars and fill in days, dates & times. I make calendars for his golf and used to make calendars for all my bicycling stuff. I will post the web addy when I turn on that pc. Hubby and I each get one side of the fridge to post our stuff. Makes it easier to keep up with each other too!

  • CalfeeChick that would be fantastic! Thanks!

  • Love crossword puzzles, reading, making lists. My husband fills my pill containers so I don't mix things up, but I take them in the same order every time so sometimes I catch his mistakes! I may not know what is missing but I'll know if I'm short! I'm also super organized so it helps with my brain and I substitute to keep me going.

  • Awsome idea Iona60 l have my meds next to my bed. Mornings in a zip lock bag in a drawer and night time meds in the paper bag they came in. Nothing fancy.

    Appts are in my phone, the calendar in the living room and on the wipe off board in the kitchen.

    To remember things l repeat them over and over again in my head. And hope they stick. And l have a little note book that l use to list things. I also use the note pad on my phone :)

  • I say things out loud to remember them. For some reason, hearing them makes it sink in. Maybe I should try this if I'm going to another room to get something. My husband read that it's the act of going through a doorway that makes you forget what you got up to do. Moving to the next room clears your brain or something.

  • I like that excuse, lm using it lol

  • Iona60 I do this and my husband and kids ask me who I'm talking to.πŸ˜†

  • Who cares! Don't mind me, I have a lot of holes in my brain 😜

  • Our dog just died a few weeks ago. Sure miss him as I was saying these things out loud to him. Now it's to nobody. My husband tries to ignore me.

  • Iona60 I'm sorry you lost your dog. If you need to talk to someone, I'll listen.😊

  • Iona60 πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯

  • So sorry you lost your 'listening' buddy...

  • Sorry about the loss of your furbaby. You can still talk to him.

  • A vet once told me, the only flaw in dogs is that their lives are too short πŸ˜₯

  • Iona60 l am so sorry, l know how hard that is :(

  • So sorry Iona60. Pets are family and losses hurt so much. Giving you a gentle hug.

  • Iona60, So sorry to hear you lost your dog. I know our dogs become our children and we grieve for them.

  • Most of us talk to ourselves st least a little. It's the arguments that unnerve other people!

  • Ok, I'm removing all doorways then Iona60 πŸ˜…

  • Then what excuse would we have?

  • Good point. I need all the excuses I can get πŸ˜‹

  • Iona60 l had a laugh yesterday when l walked into the bdrm for something and completely forgot what it was, but remembered your post :D

  • My mother used to say "go back and trace your steps" when I was a child . Still rings in my mind when I forget, maybe 75% of the time it helps . It seems, iona60, that this relates to the doorway thing somehow

  • Even before I was diagnosed I made a 3 part 'to do' list on Word. There's a column for to do, do go and to buy. I can't tell you how helpful this list is! Except for when I go shopping and forget it on the counter. Yep . . . and life goes on!!!

  • Ok this is probably TMI but I keep a checklist by the door of all the things I need to remember to bring with me: keys, wallet, glasses, etc.

    the other day I added a "P" to the end of the list to remind me to use the bathroom before I left the house.

    Sure enough, I got 1/2 a mile into my journey and realized I forgot to "p" 😳

    Guess I need to read my list better

  • I have a post-it note on the door to remind me to bring my cell. It only helps if I remember to read it. Ha!

  • Good suggestion. Sometimes I just sit and think of as many words that I can and write them down then check the spelling. I also do a lot of crossword puzzles along with those hidden objects games or find the difference in the the picture games.

  • Do you have any websites for the find the difference or hidden object games. I'm sure these are very beneficial.

  • Big fish Games is good. You can play online games or download and play for 1hr free. Available for purchase if you like the game. I'm not a tech wizard, but knew games eat up allot of memory, so I bought and external memory drive that I keep the games on.

  • Royjr hi ya... being dyslexic l stink at cross word puzzles and thos search games fustrate me to no end :(

  • AARP has a series of brain games I play on my iPad. There is Magonng, free cell, spider solitaire, etc

  • Thanks Robert. I'll look them up.

  • RobertCalifornia do you have to be an AARP member?

  • No membership needed

  • Thank you erash :)

  • Good morning Jesmcd2 😊

  • Good morning erash I think everyone is either still sleeping or shopping :)

  • I read at least 3 books a week, as well as doing Lumosity everyday. Then I found some great one person puzzles games at Barnes and Noble, as well as doing VERY simple jigsaw puzzles. I used to do hard ones, but can't anymore. My husband hates board games, but knows they are good for me, so the big sweetie plays them with me. I got us some new ones for Christmas, I'll let you know how they turn out. But most of all I adore reading and writing. Kelly

  • I go to a website called GamesForTheBrain. I like to play Anagramania which is under the Word Games link. And also Mastercards which is just a matching game. I've heard learning a new language or instrument is good for the brain. I got a ukulele and went to a beginners class. It's easy to pick up the chords and it's fun. I'm not good, but it's a good workout for the brain and fun.

  • RobertCalifornia, thanks for the tip about AARP games, I checked it out and really like it! Good tip. Kelly

  • I have Tetris on my phone that I play. I do pretty well until the puzzle pieces start flying down and the words start flying out my mouth. This is the time I put my phone down and step away from the game.πŸ˜†

  • Haven't been able to figure out Tetris but heard it's great for the brain.

  • I'm still working. I've sometimes gotten to work and realized I forgot my phone, my medication, my work badge that I clock in and out with and it gets me through the doors, etc. (One day I got out to my car and realized I had on shoes that didn't match!) So now I go through a checklist in the mornings before I go out the door:

    Keys - check

    Badge - check

    Phone - check

    Lunch - check

    Medication - check

    My shoes match - check!

  • KerryOkie I've decided to install the clapper on my phone. Every time I lose my phone I would clap my hands and the alarm would go off. I don't know how many times I've misplaced it or left it at a store. I had my children searching all over the house, drove 15 minutes to Target and 15 back only to realize my phone was sitting by the printer in the den. 😜

  • How do you install a clapper on your phone? Is it an app?

  • I want to know this too

  • Iona60 erash Im joking. when I was little there was a commercial that advertised the clapper for lost car keys. I think when clapped your hands together the alarm would go off. I'm just being a smart axx.πŸ˜†

  • But if somebody could come up with that, it would be a big seller! lol

  • I wore two totally different socks last week. 😁😁😁

  • I use my phone app that reminds me to take my meds 3x/wk or what ever I need to remind me to do. I also use the calendar that comes with my MS med. to keep track. There is also an app for that but I use my own rotation sites and the app doesn't follow it for me. I divide suppliments into am and pm in those plastic weekly containers. For ones that I take everyday but different colored ones depending on the time of month, I now put the number of the pill on a calendar and then count them to see if I actually took it or not. Often I forget right after I have taken it if I actually took it or not. I do play mah jongg once in a while but we don't get together often. In fact I played last week and it has been a year and it was sort of difficult to get back into it and remember the rules. I have been playing gin rummy online, which I like. I used to play Words with friends, but I just got bored with it after awhile. My biggiest problem is trying to memorize words to music and I really can't do it lately. I want to be able to sing without looking at the music, and try as I might, I can't remember the words for very long so I'm stuck using a music stand. This is very frustrating. I fill out soduku puzzles pretty often. That takes a lot of mental thought. I like to read a good book once in a while, but haven't been doing much of that lately. I prefer to watch TV or movies. I should exercise but I don't.

  • I have created a number of aids/work-arounds over the years. Most of them were developed before I was dx'd, but I did have 7 kids and scatter-brain tendencies. LOL.

    1. I created a Bill Pay chart which lists ALL of my bills by date due, and amount. I check off each bill as I pay it. I haven't had a late payment in years, and I can see at a glance what and when things are due. It sure helps with Budgeting, too.

    2. I have begun to use Lastpass for storing passwords to everything. It's free and I only need to remember one password. One click log-in from the site dashboard, too.

    3. I am a member of Toastmasters. This organization has been SO beneficial to me. It's a fun way to socialize as well as a boost to cognitive issues. I think my memory has improved since I have been writing and delivering short (5 - 7 minute) speeches. All of my fellow club members are supportive, and it's also given me a forum to increase MS awareness.

  • We were talking about this the other day.

  • My Mom is 92 years old and when she can't remember a person's name or even a word, she starts at the beginning of the alphabet and eventually it will come to her!

You may also like...