As 2024 continues to unfold, consider more ways to embrace positive change in the pursuit of aging well. In addition to trying a new fitness routine or maintaining your current exercise regimen, incorporate ways to arrange life’s activities for maximum effectiveness.

Recently, a group of VMRC residents attended a presentation called  “Planning and Organizing Your Year” given by VMRC’s speech therapist, Beth Guzman. During her presentation, the group discussed helpful tips and strategies for using calendars, lists, and reminders to organize important events and appointments. They also talked about how to effectively plan for meals by using a meal planner, looking at recipes and creating shopping lists. Lastly, they looked at ways to manage medications and money more effectively.

“Normally, when people hear ‘speech therapy’ they think of someone who helps people to speak,” says Beth. “While that is part of what I do in terms of helping people with language and voice, another area that speech therapy specializes in is cognition which can include attention, orientation, memory, word finding, problem-solving, reasoning and thought organization.”

Here are some of the key takeaways and tips from the presentation:

  • Use a calendar or weekly planner to keep track of appointments, events, to-do list items and bills due.
  • Create lists to organize errands, chores and phone calls/emails to return or make.
  • Use reminders like alarm clocks, post-it notes, or phone apps to remind you of important tasks, such as when to take medications, when to leave your house/apartment for an appointment, or when to turn off appliances after use.
  • Enhance your meal planning by creating a weekly schedule of what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and create a categorized shopping list.
  • Manage medications more effectively by using a weekly pill box to organize your medications. Make sure to create a reminder for what time you will take them.
  • Budget more effectively by keeping a ledger and color-coding spending categories.
  • Create a “command center” in your house or apartment where you will keep mail, whiteboard/corkboard, clock, keys, wallet/purse, phone, important contacts, emergency plans and other items that are important to you.
  • Create a daily routine to help reduce stress and allow for a more active lifestyle once you finish your “must-dos.”
  • Plan outfits weekly and hang them in your closet in the order that you will wear them.
  • Make big tasks seem more manageable by writing out smaller steps you will take to complete those tasks.

“Just as the muscles in our body can require exercise to stay strong, our brain can also require ‘exercise’ to compensate for normal changes that come with aging,” Beth added.

Another significant goal of therapy services is personal empowerment and self-management. Physical, occupational and speech therapists work to enable people to manage their conditions and other aspects of everyday life independently. This involves teaching self-management skills, such as planning and organizing, identifying triggers for pain or limitations and adapting daily routines to promote well-being.

Call VMRC Outpatient Therapy Services at 540.438.4273 for questions or more information.