Health Topics

Keep Your Details from Slipping Through the Cracks

It is easy to think that you will remember everything, but years later some of those details might slip through the cracks.

Kathryn Kilpatrick offers suggestions for lifelong learning and successful aging. As a speech-language pathologist with over four decades of experience working with older adults, Kathryn Kilpatrick specializes in working with older adults and their families facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In the last decade people of all ages seem to be complaining about their memory.

Have you noticed that your memory is not what it used to be? Join the many people, both young and old, complaining about forgetting something or trying to figure what they were just doing. There is no quick fix for improving your memory. Like losing weight, you need to be aware of what will help in your particular situation then make a conscious effort to work your plan.

Don’t Forget the Details

Do you have a summary of your medical information? It is easy to think that you will remember all of the details but years later some of those background details might be more important than you think. Perhaps someone else will need more information if you are seriously ill.

As a speech-language pathologist doing home health care, I often have a patient who is unable to recall or relate important information for a variety of reasons including:

  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss

Often other family members and/or friends may not be able to provide the needed details. Sometimes that information is very hard to track down.
We make lists for so many things and often organize the details for projects, so this strategy is a frequently used one. When I was seriously ill decades ago, there was so much information I needed to keep track of. I finally had to create a daily diary, so I could assess what was helpful and what was not. Clearing out files a few years ago, I came across the notebook and realized how helpful this system had been for that period of time.

Memory Information Book:

A woman shared how she kept track of what was where in her house. She was becoming less mobile and relied on others to get things from her basement and garage. With some help she created a list of what was stored where – room by room. For many of my patients, I suggest that once they are home from the hospital that they make a note of the major details and doctors involved. From there they can eventually work backwards, perhaps with the help of others, and create details of previous medical history.

Memory Basic To Do:

Start simple. Put together an information notebook with tabs. Maybe you will have a section for the following details:

  • Birthdays
  • Yearly fees
  • How to use a particular appliance or device
  • Where you moved an object you rarely used
  • Medical information

Keep updating the notebook as needed.

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters and Communication Connection. She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.