My loved one is constantly misplacing or losing things. Is there something I can do to help her?
Misplacing or losing things is a common complaint as many people have difficulties with attention, memory, and organization after a brain injury. It can be frustrating for everyone.
Helpful tips have a lot to do with making things simpler. Here are a few.
Go through the mail each day and try to deal with or "touch" things only once. Try to:
- throw out the junk mail right away to cut down on clutter.
- establish a system to organize the bills until it's time for them to be paid.
- note invitations or announcements on the calendar along with the pertinent information like location and time. Once it's all recorded, toss the paper — don't leave things lying around!
Keys, Wallets, and Cellphones
Keys should be kept near the door. You can hang the keys on a hook or use a small container. When you enter the house, always put the keys in their special spot. Some people also post a sign that says "KEYS" as an additional reminder when they come through the door.
Establish a consistent place for other important items. Keep your wallet, glasses, and cell phone, for example, in an easy-to-remember location that always stays the SAME.
Label cabinets and drawers with their contents, such as "Tupperware," "silverware," or "snacks," to keep things organized and easy to find when you need them.
Remember that new behaviors take a lot of practice before they become habits. This is especially true after brain injury, but spending less time looking for things is worth it for everyone.
See more information from these resources:
- Learning to Remember
- Retired NFL Player George Visger: Memory Strategies That Work
- Using External Aids to Compensate for Memory and Organizational Problems Post-TBI
- Where Are My Keys?
- Why So Many Questions?
- Now What Did I Come In Here For? Strategies for Remembering What You’re Looking For
- Memory and Brain Injury: Resource Section
- TBI 101: Memory Problems
Elaine Sherard practiced as a speech-language pathologist and had various roles in the neurorehabilitation field for 25 years, including management and serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina. She continues as a consultant in the brain injury rehabilitation field as well as advocacy endeavors.