Memory tools - using words and rhymes

If you have memory problems, words and rhymes can help you to remember people’s names.

Suggested techniques 

Try thinking of words that start with the same letter as the person’s name:

Pleasant Peter
Funny Fiona
Pretty Penny
Smiley Sunita

You could also think of words that rhyme with the person’s name:

Tall Paul
Merry Terry
Jolly Molly
Carer Sarah

Some people make up their own rhymes, songs or sayings to help them remember facts and numbers. Here are some techniques people told us they use:

  • Betty found it difficult to remember the registration number of her car, which was Y288 FHT.

She made up this humorous sentence:

Why (have I got) 288 Fat Hairy Toes?

You might be able to think of a word where the initials stand for a set of actions you have to remember.

  • When Jean arrived home, she had to open the front door, switch off the alarm and then press a ‘zapper’ to close the electric garage door. She found it difficult to remember the zapper, so the garage door was often left open. Jean hung a DAZwashing powder packet by her front door to remind her of the procedure.

D - door
A - alarm
Z - zapper

  • Harry always forgot to close the front gate when he got home. He made up the word GLO to help him remember.

G - gate
L - lock car door
O - open front door

It can help if you picture yourself carrying out the sequence of actions in your head.

A joke or funny phrase might also help you to remember. For example:

Jean DAZZLED herself every time she zapped the garage door!

Harry felt a GLO of pride as he remembered to lock the gate!

Use any reminder that works for you – it doesn’t matter how odd it may seem to someone else.

Living with memory problems

Read our prractical advice for living with memory problems.

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Further reading