Memory aids, tools and strategies

2. Traditional memory aids

Calendar or diary

Put a calendar, wallchart or noticeboard in a place where you will see it frequently – on the fridge or by the telephone, for example. You could use a whiteboard to note activities or tasks for the day and wipe them off as you do them.

A notebook or large ‘week to view’ diary can be helpful. You can write down things you want to remember, such as lists of things you need to do, or have done. Keep it somewhere easy to see, such as by the telephone or on a cupboard in the kitchen.

Get into a routine of checking a diary, calendar, noticeboard or whiteboard – perhaps when you wake up in the morning, every mealtime, or every time you make a drink. Cross the day’s date off your calendar before you go to bed, so that you are certain about the date when you get up the next day.

Keep a journal

Write a few sentences or stick photos in a daily journal. You can look back in it to remind you what you have done or how you felt. A journal may also give you something to show others or to talk about. You could collect tokens or mementos of things you’ve done to add to the journal as reminders. For example, you could keep a receipt from a meal out, train tickets or a programme from a show.


Consider buying a newspaper each morning, or getting one delivered. That way you will always know what the day and date are. Tidy up and recycle old newspapers.

Calendar clock

You could use an automatic calendar clock. As well as showing the time, it will remind you of the date and day of the week.

Shopping list

Take a list when you go shopping. Cross things off as you put them into your basket. At home, keep a list of items that have run out so you can easily add them to your shopping list. If you find it difficult to write, you could keep part of the packaging of items you’ve run out of. Or you could use a voice recorder or Dictaphone, to help remind you what you need to buy.

Contact numbers

Keep a list of important contact numbers by the phone – for example, the doctor, the police, utility companies, family members or your neighbours. Leave your list by the phone or store the contacts in your mobile phone so that you have easy access to any professionals you might need to get in touch with.

You could consider buying a phone that allows you to pre-programme your most commonly used numbers into it. Then you would only need to press one number, or a button with a photo on it, to call someone. (This is sometimes known as ‘speed dial’).