Memory Problems

Memory is the brain taking in, keeping, recalling, and using information. A brain injury can affect any of these facets of memory. And it can also make it hard to learn and remember things

Confusion is very common for people in the early recovery phase of a brain injury. They may not remember events that happened immediately before the injury or events from their hospital stay. As they recover, people who have memory problems typically have more difficulty with remembering recent events or learning new information (recent memory), rather than forgetting their identity or events that occurred in the remote past (remote memory).

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Matt Brown: Strategies, Patterns, and Routine Are Key

Matt Brown: Strategies, Patterns, and Routine Are Key
I started occupational therapy a little bit and-- I'm trying to think of the word-- speech pathology. I started that kind of therapy, and that was actually really helpful, just different little mind games. Surprisingly, some of the most mundane games that you would play on your cell phone or on different websites and stuff like that, you'd be surprised how much it actually helps you. Word searches or number searches for me worked very well, to a point that I could function slightly better. I was starting to remember some things, but other things I would just totally space out on. My wife would tell me to take out the trash. Five hours later I'm still sitting there. She's like, "You didn't take out the trash." I'm like, "Oh. Sorry about that." Then I would forget about it again because I was doing something. Multitasking became very, very difficult. It was a learned skill after. It took me a long time to slowly learn how to, okay, concentrate on 1 thing slowly and then add another thing to it and then work on those 2 things at the same time. I went to the VA for the PTSD treatment and some of the speech pathology treatment. The other stuff was on my own. Once I was speaking with the therapist and stuff like that, she gave me little hints and tricks that I could do: always putting the keys in the same spot, always putting my wallet in the same spot, and then just different memory games like try not necessarily to make songs but keep patterns in your head. "Okay, my keys are on the counter, my wallet is always in my pants, "my pants are always in the bathroom, my shoes-- "okay, where are my shoes? Oh. I always put them next to my pants in the bathroom." Just remembering, keep a routine, same thing. Try to do the same thing day in, day out. Now, with my children it's difficult because they don't let me do the same things every day, but try to keep your own routine and your own method and having a support group like a loved one: wife, mother, father. They'll help you keep the same routine. That's helped me drastically.

Retired NFL Player George Visger: Memory Strategies That Work

Retired NFL Player George Visger: Memory Strategies That Work
And I just learned over the years various coping mechanisms. I learned to--I mean, I have 20 years of these. I write down everything that goes on in my day, every day. And I'll have 1:30--you know, I drove to the site--you know, 1:47, I spoke to Ed, this is what we talked about. At the end of the day, I might have 15 or 20 pages of-- and people that know me and work with me-- when they call me, the first thing they say, "Do you have your notebook handy?" "Hang on," and I write down 11:15 or 11:19--sometihing--and we start talking, and I'm scratching down notes, and when we get done, I'll read back through what we talked about, and I'll highlight--you know, hot things that I need to re-read again several times over, so every few days I'll read back the previous maybe week or two. So, I've read them over two or three times and it starts to reinforce things. Even though I don't really remember meeting with Mike Sanchez last Wednesday, I read it four times, and I know I did. You know, so I've learned to do that. I keep Post-it in business. I buy thousands and thousands of Post-its. If I have something coming up, I'll write a note. I put it on my mirror. I know in the morning when I go to brush my teeth--there it is. Don't forget your 11:00 appointment. I get out in my truck--same Post-it on my dashboard. I open up my computer--there are four on my computer right now as we speak. When I go to work, "Oh yeah, don't forget this and this and this." I have beepers that go off at two weeks, one week. In fact, for this meeting--5, 4, 3, 2, 1 days in advance, and then the day of this meeting, it'll go off every hour, and then the hour prior it goes off every 15 minutes. I'll have all those go off and sometimes 30 minutes prior, if I don't have something to remind-- and I get busy working on a report, and I'll get a phone call two or three hours later, someone will go, "Well, where were you?" "What do you mean, where was--" "You missed a meeting." I've had 25 reminders, but I didn't have that one 10 minutes before. These are various--and I tell people, you'll never hurt my feelings if you call to remind me about something. I run my own business. I have a small consulting--environmental consulting business-- or I did, and I had four other biologists working for me and one gal who was running the office. I told them all--I said, "Don't ever feel like you're going to hurt my feelings if you need to call me during the day and just make sure that I'm on task on something."

Testing Memory, Attention, Behavior, and Much More

Testing Memory, Attention, Behavior, and Much More
You know--the hallmark, I guess, of people with TBI is working with memory, attention, and behavioral issues. Memory and attention are fairly easy to understand. There are a lot of strategies and interventions to work with them. But they're very common, and people work with them. The other issue is working around behavioral issues because we often don't realize that our behavior is mediated by our brain, and how our brain processes information. So helping people to increase their awareness of what kind of behavioral changes they're exhibiting, helping other people around them understand what kind of behavioral changes their loved one is exhibiting, and coming up with ways to monitor and be able to intervene and to improve some of those situations for the individual. Those are the more common ones. Some of the less common ones that we see sometimes are some kind of visual deficits, not 20-20 vision, but how you interpret visual information, how you accommodate to perhaps depth perception problems or to focusing problems, those kinds of things. You can get some inner ear and some balance, some body position difficulties. Sometimes we'll work with those. Those are less common. The hallmarks really are the memory and the attention and the behavioral changes.

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