Memory Aids

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Brain injuries often result in cognitive challenges for person with brain injury. Cognition is the act of knowing and thinking. Cognitive abilities that can be affected after a brain injury include:

  • Struggles to pay attention and concentrate on tasks
  • Processing and understanding new information
  • Memory
  • Planning and organizing

For People with Brain Injury:

A brain injury damages parts of the brain needed for processing information, and it can lead to struggles in getting organized. We have compiled a list of helpful memory aids and suggestions to help people with brain injuries and their loved ones can do to help!

Write things down

It can be easy to forget something said on the phone, an appointment, or important notes during meetings or doctors’ appointments. Utilize a notebook and pen and have it handy. There are also wonderful apps and websites to help stay organized (i.e., Reminders, Notion, It’s Done, BEST Suite). More information on these apps can be found in our Technology Quick Guide

Break large or complex tasks into smaller tasks

Work together with a family member, friend, or caregiver to lay out all the major tasks you need to accomplish and break down step by step things you can accomplish.

Structure your day with routine daily tasks and activities

Keep a calendar of appointments and tasks. Make checklists and have them in different rooms depending on where those daily-tasks are completed. List things in order of what should be done first. Check out our list of Instrumental Activities of Daily Living to help you find what’s important to structure into your routine.

Keep organized

Keep things in a designated area so you don’t lose them. Find what works right for you!

Ask for help

It can be incredibly frustrating to have to ask people something again, but working together with the people in your circle can help improve your memory.

For Caregivers and Loved Ones

As a caregiver, family member, or friend of someone with a brain injury, it can be difficult trying to help them get organized and improving their overall memory. Here are some tips for loved ones to help:

Offer help when you are able to

Practice at-home activities to better help improve cognition.

Help develop a problem-solving strategy when frustrated

Define the problem and the ultimate goal, brainstorm possible solutions, try the solution, and evaluate the solution. Encourage them to practice this so that they can do that independently eventually.

Attend therapy sessions and doctors’ appointments

Attend these sessions when you are able to know what they are working on and help reinforce those skills

Be Patient

Empower them to make their own decisions or problem-solve together.


The Brain Injury Association of Virginia offers a variety of helpful resources to help people with brain injuries, family members, friends, and caregivers to develop memory and organization. Check out some of our available resources below or explore our Resource Library.

  1. Cognitive Problems After a Brain Injury – After a TBI it is common for people to have problems with attention, concentration, speech and language, learning and memory, reasoning, planning and problem-solving. This guide provides common cognitive changes after a TBI and ways to manage them.
  2. Attention and Concentration Problems – this article breaks down the effects of a brain injury on concentration, causes of concentration problems, and strategies to improve attention and concentration.
  3. Supporting Independence After a Brain Injury - Brain injury can be a barrier to being independent. Giving caregivers and professionals the skills necessary to encourage independence safely is important for recovery. Patience, time,
    communication, and taking a long-term approach are key in the process of supporting independence.
  4. Special Education Services – With the beginning of the school year, it is important to set your child up for success after a brain injury. This quick guide breaks down how to find eligibility criteria for Special Education Services, types of services and supports, and resources available in Virginia.

Still need help? Reach out to the Brain Injury Association of Virginia for more resources and providers that can help you or your loved one. Give us a call at 1-800-444-6443 or email [email protected]. Make sure you are following us on our social media and on our email list to stay up to date on new resources and information to support the brain injury community in Virginia.

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