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5 Common Memory Problems & How to Deal

By Daryl H. Bryant (788 words)
Posted in Living with MS on May 11, 2016

There are (1) comments permalink

5 Common Memory Problems & How to Deal

One of the most frustrating symptoms of MS is memory problems. Brain fog is a constant battle during flare-ups, and these common memory problems are sure to spring up for you at some point. So how can you deal when MS memory problems rear their ugly heads?

Read on to learn about 5 common memory problems and how to deal with them when they strike.

Forgetting Important Things

Forgetfulness can be frustrating and embarrassing. During a flare-up, you may struggle to remember appointments, birthdays, processes, or the name of that one actor who played in that movie back in the ‘90s.

How to deal: Use a planner (paper or digital) to keep important dates and times straight. Your smart phone has tons of tools to help you remember things. You can set reminders (oftentimes with just the press of a button), keep track of holidays and birthdays, and check off your daily to-do list all on your phone. If you prefer physical note-taking, put a dry erase board up in your house to write down things you need to buy at the store, important dates, and anything else you can’t afford to forget.

Trouble Concentrating

Sometimes you just need to get things done, but brain fog drifts in and keeps you from focusing fully on the task at hand. Inability to focus can compound other issues, particularly if you are working during a flare-up.

How to deal: Fatigue is a leading cause of brain fog, so make sure you are getting as much sleep as possible. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water since dehydration increases fatigue. Plan your day so that you are doing the tasks that require the most concentration when you are at your best. For many people, that means starting the day out with the most demanding things, but you may function better in the afternoon though. Trust your instincts and prioritize your tasks to fit your unique workflow.

Inability to Find the Right Word

Finding the right words can be difficult during a flare-up, and the struggle may lead to stress and social anxiety.

How to deal: Stressing out and frantically trying to remember the word will only make it worse. When you come to a spot in a conversation where you cannot remember a word, there are a few different options. You may want to use a different word that is close enough. If you feel comfortable, you could also explain the situation to the person you are speaking with. He or she will likely understand what you are meaning to say - or may even know the word. If it bothers you when people prompt you with the word, be sure to let your friends, family members, and co-workers know that you would prefer them not to guess the word you want to say. Discuss your concern with them politely and explain how you would prefer them to respond.

Misplacing Items

Things are frustrating enough during a flare-up without having to frantically search for your keys, wallet or cell phone.

How to deal: The best way to stop misplacing items is to have designated spots where you always put important things. For instance, instead of putting your phone anywhere in your bedroom, have a designated spot that you always place it. This will cut down on the number of times you misplace something. Still, it’s good to have a backup plan. Consider investing in locator items such as Tile ($25 per tile, which can be placed on keyring, slipped in wallet, or stuck to any item you lose frequently) to help you find your important things when you need them.

Difficulty Following Conversations

Difficulty concentrating, brain fog, and struggling to find the right word can all contribute to difficulty following (and confidence participating in) conversations during a flare-up.

How to deal: Have an open and honest conversation with the people in your life about your difficulty following conversations and brainstorm ways to make it simpler. For instance, you may decide that it is best to turn off the tv and set aside electronics during conversations. You may also ask your spouse, best friend, or other people close to you to try to actively engage you in group conversations when you seem to be struggling to follow.

Although memory problems can be burdensome, they don’t have to get you down. Hopefully, these methods will help you deal with the most common memory problems you will face during MS flare-ups. Do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with memory problems? Share in the comments below!

Comments (1)

Marie posted on: June 11, 2016

YES! These are the reasons I had to resign as a teacher!

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