Tag Archive for: memory


Foster Independence with Memory Mantras

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Being an Occupational Therapist can also be a curse when it comes to parenting.  As an OT, the goals are always functional independence.  As a parent, I am no different.  I remember a video I watched in OT school.  This was of a boy (young adult) with cerebral palsy and he was putting his coat on.  The video was probably 20 minutes (or it felt that long).  As I watched this boy struggle with his coat for what seemed liked eternity, I wanted to jump through the TV to help him.  Clearly, with some help, this could be done faster and easier.  But in the end, it was not about that.  It was about independence.

As parents, it is often faster and easier to do things for our kids.  Or, we feel the need to continuously protect our kids from failure by ensuring that we are their second brain.  But is this the right choice when the goal is to create people that can manage on their own?

I have created two memory mantras that are used in our house to ensure my kids are seeing the big picture and are developing some executive functioning (note I also use these mantras with my clients who suffer from memory impairment):

  1. When leaving the house our mantra is:  WHERE AM I GOING AND WHAT DO I NEED?  When my children ask themselves this question, they need to stop and think “I am going to X and thus need Y (water, shoes, birthday present, tennis racquet, money)”.  This prevents them from showing up at X unprepared.
  2. When leaving a place in the community our mantra is:  WHAT DID I COME WITH AND WHAT DO I HAVE?  By asking themselves this question, they quickly realize that they came with X and thus need to bring X home (coat, shoes, water, bag, lunch).  This prevents them from leaving things behind.

The success is in hearing my children repeat this to themselves when on their way out the door.  Recently, at a sporting event, we heard a teenage boy blame his mother for forgetting his water.  She was profusely apologetic and rushed out to find him a drink.  My children (who were younger at the time) turned to me and said: “shouldn’t he remember his own water”?  My thoughts exactly.

Originally posted June 2013


Solutions for Managing Passwords

Online security experts recommend creating strong passwords with a mix of special characters, numbers and letters which are different for each application you use.  However, remembering one simple password is often hard enough!  Especially for applications you don’t use often, it is recommended you keep a log of each password so you can easily retrieve it when needed.  This is particularly helpful for seniors, or anyone dealing with cognitive issues, who may have difficulty remembering passwords, or have trusted family members and/or caregivers who may need access to these.

Use our printable Password Keeper to record these important online passwords and user names, and keep it in a safe place for future use.



























For more helpful tools please visit our Printable Resources Page.


Forgot Where You Left Your Keys… Should You Be Concerned?

Do you have trouble remembering where you left your keys?  Is it hard for you to remember the name of the person you were just introduced to?  Many who experience these momentary memory lapses often feel it’s cause for concern, but that’s not always the case.  The following from WebMD discusses a study which looked at memory in young and older adults and explains why these forgetful moments sometimes occur.

If you are concerned about your cognition and memory as you age there are great ways to keep your mind sharp!  Read a book, do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle, learn a language, stay social, or try one of our weekly mind benders.  Frequently using your brain will help to keep you on the ball through the years!

WebMD:  Midlife Memory Lapses May Be Normal Part of Aging


Say “Bonjour” to a Healthier Mind

Bonjour… Hola…Konnichiwa…Say hello to a great way to boost brain power and help slow the process of aging for your brain. The following from New Scientist discusses recent findings which show that learning a second language may be one of the best ways to help keep your brain fit and strong, and bid adieu to memory loss in the latter years of life.

New Scientist: Learn a second language to slow ageing brain’s decline


Give Your Mind a Check Up

Whether you think your memory is failing you, or other people are telling you so, or you just like brain games, the following “test” created by Baycrest Health Sciences provides an easy way for a quick “check up” on your memory functions. Of course, the results are not a medical diagnosis, but see how you score and if you are concerned, speak with a health professional.

Canada News Wire:  Baycrest memory experts launch ‘thermometer’ for the mind