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Memory Exercises for People With Brain Injuries

by
author image Sara Clement
Sara Clement has been a writer, editor and social-media expert since 2002. A regular contributor for publications such as "Exhale," "Reflections of a Butterfly" and "The Giggle Guide," she is currently writing a book about grief and loss and coauthoring a sequel to "Being Ourself." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in premedical science and psychology/education from the University of Montana.
Memory Exercises for People With Brain Injuries
Reading Photo Credit Avosb/iStock/Getty Images

At least 1.7 million people will sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Among physical, psychological and physiological aspects that may be affected, the way a person feels, behaves, and remembers can be changed by a brain injury. Because every person is affected differently by brain injury, permanent and temporary changes may cause impairment or difficulty in daily life. Cognitive functions may be improved through skills training and tools designed to assist the memory.

Significance

After any brain injury, it is important to offer the correct level of support as soon as possible for optimal healing. Neuronal growth is exceptionally slow, which may be frustrating for the individual suffering from traumatic brain injury, but persistence in correcting deficits must be actively pursued. Frustration after sustaining brain injury is common for both the individual and his or her caregivers. Take advantage of brain injury support groups and organizations for the latest research in preventing and correcting brain injury effects.

Significance of Technology

Persons with memory impairment due to brain injury may be helped greatly through the use of recording devices. Modern technology enables the person with memory deficits to reduce the stress that occurs when memory fails. Stress can cause additional damage to neuronal pathways in the brain; reducing stress can enhance healing and memory capability over time. Because memory training has limited success rates, log books, smart phones and electronic note pads and recorders are considered to be a more successful way to enhance memory according to The Brain Injury Association of America.

Reading

Reading can pose unique challenges for brain injured people with memory impairment. Because inhibition of memory may prevent these people from being able to enjoy a plot requiring longer retention time, it can be helpful to start with smaller chunks. Short jokes, famous quotes, and short stories can be read and re-read to offer the repetition needed to re-establish memory pathways that were lost.

Color Sudoku

For persons who struggle with mathematical memory after brain injury, there are color-based sudoku games which access similar pathways in the brain. Color-based sudoku eliminates numerical memory requirement but stimulates similar pattern and logic areas of the brain for memory building fun that can be enjoyed by all ages. Additionally, naturopathic physician Robert Ullman recommends utilizing the healing effects of homeopathic arnica to assist in healing traumatic brain injury and support memory repair.

Card Games

Card games such as Old Maid, Go Fish, Memory, Solitaire and SNAP utilize simplistic memory skills that can be helpful for a person recovering from traumatic brain injury. Utilizing repetitive rules, the person with brain injury related deficits can enjoy neuronal stimulation without excessive stress. When playing games with a person suffering from brain injury, it may be more helpful to focus on cooperative playing than on winning.

Considerations

Difficulty in sleeping cycles can have a negative effect on an injured brains ability to utilize the full capacity of their memory. Irregular sleep patterns are common in brain injury. Discuss options with your neurologist if sleep problems are affecting cognition and learning ability.

Prevention

Brain injury is easier to prevent than to heal. Educate yourself about how to prevent brain injury and make sure the people you love always wear a helmet when riding a bike. Brain injuries commonly occur during sports activities and from motor vehicle accidents; many motor vehicle accidents implicated in brain injury are also related to alcohol abuse of one or more drivers. Treating a brain injury early is the best indicator for recovery so be sure to recognize the signs of even mild injury, such as slurred speech, memory lapse, extreme fatigue, dizziness and confusion. Do not attempt to treat any brain injury independently of a doctor; even mild injuries can be life threatening.

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