Memory problems are amongst the earliest signs and symptoms in any type of dementia but particularly Alzheimer’s disease. They can have a major impact on daily functioning, relationships and also a sense of self. Understandably people with memory problems can have feelings of shame or embarrassment at times. This can also be very difficult for family and carers.
It is important to remember that dementia can affect certain memory sub-systems but not necessarily all of them. In the early stages some may not be affected at all. Also memory involves registering, encoding and storing information so that it is not forgotten and then recalling it when needed. Some of these stages may be affected in early dementia but again not all of them. Thus compensatory techniques can be used to help improve memory using alternative methods.
Memory Stimulation techniques
Hence memory rehabilitation can work in several ways not only to improve memory function but also help the person and carer’s/family to understand the difficulties the person is experiencing. Memory rehabilitation treatment can involve using compensatory methods and environment adaptation to help memory. Hence the other aspects of memory which are still functioning well can be used more to compensate.
1. Learning concentrates on small chunks of information and especially information that is of particular importance to the person.
2. External aids can be used as substitutes like diaries, prompts, photos with names, calendar appointments, personal memory wallets, etc.
3. Visual imagery and mnemonic strategies can also be used in cognitive rehabilitation.
Current research basically shows that if people have the appropriate support at the “time of encoding new information”, they can then improve their memory performance. They will also then make more of a conscious effort to process the information.
Memory Rehabilitation service we offer
It is of course most important to focus on a particular person’s needs, current level of functioning, and well-being. We can cater our memory rehabilitation and cognitive therapy to a particular person’s needs. This would be one-to-one therapy where carers or family members can also become involved if they wish. At the First Memory Clinic we can provide memory rehabilitation treatment either by visiting the patient at their home address or alternatively they can be seen at our clinic in Manchester.