As a clinical neuropsychologist I frequently work with individuals who report they have difficulty recalling details of conversations. Here are some strategies to compensate for this problem which some people have found useful.
- Use active listening. Summarize what the person says back to them briefly
- Ask them a key question or 2 about the instructions (ask follow-up questions)
- Pick out 3 key words or points and rehearse those
- Visualize what they are trying to tell you
- Elevate the importance in your mind – think about consequences of what will happen if you don’t remember – or positive consequences if you do remember
- Look at them while they’re talking (your attention is where your eyes are orienting)
- Write down key information immediately in a notebook
- Verbalize instructions out loud to yourself once after the other person has given them – can whisper or say quietly. Some people will hum it or sing the instructions/commands
- Tell yourself you will act on the instructions ASAP and do so
- Relate what they’re saying to stuff you already know how to do or just did.
- Try to figure out why they’re asking you to do what they are (makes it more memorable)
A clinical neuropsychologist can work with people to help them compensate for memory problems. In some contexts, this can be known as cognitive rehabilitation. This is an enjoyable part of the work that neuropsychologists do. To identify a clinical neuropsychologist in North Carolina who may be able to help you develop strategies to compensate for memory problems, you can search the Brain Injury Association of America’s website, at http://www.bianc.net/. They have a listing of providers on their page. You might consider choosing clinical neuropsychologists who do cognitive rehabilitation.
Disclaimer: Content provided does not imply establishment of a doctor-patient relationship.