Memory Loss

"Forget only those things that aren't worth remembering."

Some memory loss after stroke is quite common. There are many ways your memory can be affected by stroke.
  • Verbal memory – memory of names, stories, and information having to do with words.
  • Visual memory – memory of faces, shapes, routes, and things you see.
  • Trouble learning new information or skills.
  • Unable to remember and retrieve information.
  • Short-term memory – you may be able to remember events from 30 years ago, but not what you ate for breakfast this morning.
  • A type of dementia called vascular dementia, which it second only to Alzheimer’s disease as a leading cause of dementia.
Many people recover at least some memory spontaneously after stroke. Others improve through rehabilitation.

Things to do to help with memory loss: 
  • Try to form a routine – doing certain tasks at regular times during the day.
  • Pay attention. You can't remember what you aren't paying attention to. 
  • Ask questions to fully understand. You can'y remember what you don't understand. 
  • Practice your memory all day, every day with simple things.
  • Repetition: Repeating something over and over again in your head or out loud can help you to consciously manipulate the information so that it sticks.
  • Visualization: See it in your mind. Paint a picture of what you want to remember. Imagine you are completing the action.
  • Association: Linking something you’re familiar with to what you want to remember.
  • Try not to tackle too many things at once. Break tasks down into steps.
  • If something needs to be done, make a note of it or do it right away.
  • Make a habit of always putting things away in the same place where they can be easily seen or found.
  • Keep a notebook of information -- both important and trivial.
  • Create mnemonic devices to help remember tasks. For example, the phrase "ALL OK" might help you remember what needs to be done before he leaving: appliances (off), lights (off), locked (door), oven (off), keys (in pocket).
  • Take a class or computer program aimed at improving memory.
  • Write down all your appointments, lists, and important notes in a calendar or digital organizer and always keep it in the same place.
  • Get enough sleep and more aerobic exercise, which can improve the memory system.
  • If you have an iPad, you can buy the Spaced Retrieval Therapy app ($4.99), which works on improving memory of names, facts, and routines.
  • The Eidetic app boasts that you can “learn and remember anything” by also using spaced repetition. 

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