Feeling Forgetful? Try These Simple Steps to Boost Your Everyday Recall

A woman with her hand on her head and looking out the window
RealPeopleGroup/Getty Images

Can't find your keys? Forgot your parking spot? When we fail to pay attention, we often create “weak” memories that are difficult to recall. These four strategies may help.

1. Get everything on your list

Make up a story using the items you need — the sillier, the better. For example: “A chicken was eating cornflakes when a car burst through the wall. A monkey was driving, throwing oranges out the window; he honked wildly as he drove off a cliff into a lake filled with milk.…" The story will take you from item to item until the end of your list.

2. Recall online passwords

Create a template that you personalize for each site. Start with a word-number combo that's meaningful to you — say, Binky11, the name of your first dog and your age when you got him. Tack on the initials or first two letters of the website that needs a password: FN for First National Bank, for instance. You'll remember, but a hacker will never guess.

3. Find your keys

If you regularly find yourself searching for your keys, put a basket in the entryway by the door or mount a hook on the kitchen wall. Toss your keys or hang them up as soon as you get home. Routine is a friend to memory; every time you get the keys from the basket, you help reinforce the critical neural connections in your brain.

4. Know where you parked

To keep from wandering around a parking lot searching for your car, try this technique. Step 1: As you park, note what section you're in. Step 2: Create a mental snapshot. If you're in section 3D, imagine three dogs chasing each other around your car. Even simpler: Repeat the section number aloud a few times.

Take a brain health assessment, play games, discover new recipes and more with AARP’s Staying Sharp.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

Search AARP Blogs
Related Posts
September 20, 2021 10:10 AM
When negative self-talk gets going, it’s so loud in your mind that reason and logic are drowned out. So how can we stop that mean voice inside our heads?
September 17, 2021 04:27 PM
Is it possible that we may get smarter with age? According to one study, it is wise to trust the experience and wisdom of older people.
September 17, 2021 10:42 AM
It's possible stress may ruin your love life by weakening your sex drive. Here are three stress-busting options that may improve your sex life.