Strategies for Improving Memory After Brain Injury

Question: 

I have a brain injury. When I’m tired or stressed it seems like my memory suffers. Will this get better with time?

Answer: 

The brain can’t store information in its memory efficiently when it’s tired or stressed. So when you’re too tired to focus your attention, your memory is likely to suffer as well. As your brain heals, you may have more energy and be able to pay attention for longer amounts of time. This, in turn, will help your memory. But, you can also use other strategies to help you remember. Here are some ideas:

  • Reduce stress and stay well rested. Take breaks when you need them.
  • Know your limits. When you feel you can’t absorb any more information, take a break or have someone else write it down for you.
  • Consider using a cell phone or PDA (personal digital assistant) to send yourself reminders, remember directions, or keep appointments.
  • Work with a professional (such as a speech-language pathologist) to learn to organize information so it’s easier to remember.
  • Carry a calendar or notebook to keep important information in one place.

 

Posted on BrainLine March 15, 2010

Janet Brown

Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP spent twenty years in practice at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. She is the current director of Health Care Services at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Comments

One thing that happened to me years ago after the first brain damage of long term addiction was an inability to read a note or reminder and actually convert it to anything relating to me. 

I ended up with a numerical technique which worked for years until my 2014 sepsis and coma. Now I most certainly cannot use reminder notes in any form. They overwhelm me but the numerical trick is not working as well as it did. Not sure what I am going to develop. I am in the process of minimizing all obligations and appointments etc.

Many years ago, I noticed that if I forgot what I was retrieving, if I rotated my dominant hand (in at eye level, out just above frontal lobe) in quick, successive circles my memory popped out. Recently, gesture and memory has been researched

(Using actions to enhance memory: effects of enactment, gestures, and exercise on human memory. Christopher R. Madan and Anthony Singhal. Front Psychol. 2012; 3: 507. Published online 2012 Nov 19. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00507.).

I notice that diet as well as activity is helpful. I notice when I eat more "brain foods" things are noticeably easier, additionally when I play fun but challenging games like sudoku, hidden object games, or lumosity, everything works a little better in my brain. Including mood. 

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