Memory loss is something that everyone experiences at times, often increasing with age, or following a stroke. It is estimated that approximately one third of stroke survivors will develop memory problems. The memory problems can be so severe that they interfere with normal functioning and are then called dementia— more common in older stroke survivors.
- Verbal: memory of names, stories and information having to do with language
- Visual: memory of shapes, faces, routes and things seen
- Informational: memory of information and skills or trouble learning new things
- Vascular dementia: A common post-stroke condition involving loss of thinking abilities.
- Confusion or problems with short-term memory
- Wandering or getting lost in familiar places
- Difficulty following instructions
- Trouble making monetary transactions
- Alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Lack of sleep
- Depression and stress
- Poor nutrition or diet
There are brain retraining techniques designed to improve your thinking and memory following a stroke. The training can help you improve alertness and attention and adapt to your loss of memory function, but there is no scientific proof that such therapy can improve your ability to carry out daily tasks. This training can be done in person as well as with computer programs and applications.
Brain Stimulation Training
- Trying something new. Try new hobbies that involve both the mind and body.
- Exercise. Physical fitness adds to overall physical and mental health.
- Have a place for everything. For example hang keys on a hook by the door. Put things away where they belong.
- Have a routine. Set daily routines, such as bedtime tasks, in the same specific sequence every day. Post both daily activities and special events on a large calendar.
- Write things down. Keep a notebook of important information handy. Organize it into sections, such as appointments, phone numbers and medications. Put notes in prominent places and leave written directions on how to use common household items, such as phones and microwaves, next to those items.
- Use Memory Cues. Memory cues help you remember certain tasks or information. To make a memory cue, connect a task or piece of information to something meaningful, such as an image, familiar name or song.
- Keep it simple. Try not to tackle too many things at once. Break tasks down into easy steps.
- Repetition. If you forget what someone said, ask them to repeat as often as necessary.