Conquering Memory Problems after Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog 

Let Me Write that Down:

Conquering Memory Problems after Traumatic Brain Injury

by Jessica Felix Jager, MSW

Memory problems are considered the most disabling consequence of brain injury according to The Essential Brain Injury Guide (Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), 2007). Impaired  memory affects a person’s ability to learn, retain, and use new information and may significantly affect a person’s ability to live independently (BIAA, 2007). Where the brain was injured plays a significant role on what brain functions were impaired as a result of the traumatic event. If the temporal lobe area was injured, changes will often be seen in the following areas: memory, hearing, receptive language and organization and sequencing.  When you struggle to remember or recall information that is being processed, the every day tasks that need to be accomplished become more difficult. When memory problems are present, you may find yourself feeling scattered, unsure, not knowing where to begin and overwhelmed.

Different strategies have been suggested to help compensate for memory loss, but the key strategy that is always highly recommended is: Getting organized. Acquiring the skill of organization can not only help you function better on a daily basis, but can help you become more productive and maintain structure to reach the goals that you have set for yourself. Remembering important dates and information such as locations to appointments is key to staying on top of commitments, responsibilities and everyday basic tasks.

There are basic tools that can lend a “helping hand” while juggling  the task of remembering your busy schedule and responsibilities. These basic tools include, but are not limited to:

  • Card Holder or Rolodex
  • Electronic Personal Organizer such as an I-pad or smart phone
  • Recorder for those that have good audio recognition
  • Wall Calendar
  • Personal Organizer/Planner
  • Sticky Notes to write reminders
  • Pens and Pencils

With these basic tools come useful strategies that can be implemented when using and can aide to produce optimal memory acquisition.

  • Invest in reliable planner that has plenty of pages and space for detailed entries of dates and information to remember.
  • Start a Contact List in the back of your planner for a Quick Reference. Keep your contact list in the same planner at all times so you are not trying to remember where you last put it.
  • Train yourself to check your planner/calendar everyday to be sure that you do not forget any important appointments.
  • Use rhyming techniques to remember really important dates, for example, “On May 8th I can’t be late to my best friends Wedding Date!”
  • If you are a visual person, visualize each week and month in your mind and visualize the location of your appointment for that week or day.
  • Never leave home without your planner. Train yourself to become one with your planner and always refer to it before scheduling something new.
  • Record all your important information in your planner as soon as: You make a decision to do something with someone, make a commitment to be somewhere, or have an assignment/work project due.

Repetition is key to remembering anything. If you need to write important dates or information in your planner, on your wall calendar and on a sticky note to stick in the car, then do so. It is better for you to come up with strategies that work for you, than to continue to live scattered and forgetful. Feel free to tell someone, “Hold on a second, let me write that down.” The chances of you forgetting something diminish when you make a point to set reminders and write it down.

References

Brain Injury Association of America (2007). The Essential Brain Injury Guide (4th ed).

Ypsilanti, MI: Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.

For further information go to Memory Strategies after brain injury

 

October 12, 2011

2 responses to “Conquering Memory Problems after Traumatic Brain Injury”

  1. Hello, I’m answering on behalf of Marilyn Lash, as she is out of town. Marilyn will get back to you regarding blog content when she returns. Thanks!! Bill H

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