If they of­ten for­get to take their med­i­ca­tion…

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Parents 101 -

for ex­am­ple, “The din­ing ta­ble”. It will help them re­call where they left it, later on. This habit of say­ing things aloud can help re­in­force mem­ory – as a 2010 study at the Univer­sity of Water­loo in Canada found.

If nec­es­sary, write down where things are and place the note some­where vis­i­ble. We are crea­tures of habit, so stick to des­ig­nated med­i­ca­tion times, like be­fore or af­ter a meal, or at bed­time. Also, buy a pill con­tainer that’s la­belled with each day of the week – your par­ents can get their med­i­ca­tion ready ev­ery Sun­day night.

Set alarms on their mo­bile phone to re­mind them that it’s medicine time, if need be. Get them to count their pills too – if they know how many pills are left, it will be eas­ier to fig­ure out if they’ve missed a dose.

If they for­get ev­ery­day tasks…

Th­ese could range from tak­ing the laun­dry in­side to re­mem­ber­ing their grand­chil­dren’s schoold­is­missal sched­ules. Get your par­ents to write down their daily rou­tine and post it some­where prom­i­nent. They should also jot down im­por­tant tasks, ap­point­ments and events in a note­book, cal­en­dar or elec­tronic plan­ner (set the lat­ter to beep to warn them of an up­com­ing ap­point­ment).

You may want to be help­ful and do it for them – but don’t. It’s best that se­niors list the tasks them­selves – re­search shows that the act of writ­ing helps to so­lid­ify mem­ory. Get them to read each en­try out loud too. Re­mem­ber to keep the to-do lists cur­rent and check off items once they have been com­pleted.

If they for­get im­por­tant phone num­bers…

Lock them down on speed dial in your par­ents’ mo­bile phones and teach them how to call the num­bers, like press­ing one for the doc­tor or two for your of­fice.

You can also teach them how to “chunk” in­for­ma­tion by split­ting up large in­for­ma­tion into smaller groups, say ex­perts. For ex­am­ple, in­stead of try­ing to re­mem­ber an eight-digit phone num­ber as 12345678, break it up into 1234-5678. It’ll be eas­ier to re­tain and re­call the in­for­ma­tion this way. And they can use the tech­nique to re­mem­ber gro­cery lists, birth­days, or even names.

If they can’t re­call new in­struc­tions…

Get them to lis­ten closely, then re­peat the in­for­ma­tion to you. It’s also use­ful to talk to them in a quiet place so they can fil­ter out dis­trac­tions.

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