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Short-term memory issues can have many different causes including stroke, brain tumors, and head injuries such as a concussion. Speech-language pathologists are experts in helping people with memory problems regain their memory by providing compensatory strategies for their difficulties.
Memory strategies provide more of an opportunity to purposefully spend more time remembering while allowing new, seemingly random information to be put into context.
Here are four simple strategies that will help. You can help yourself remember these four strategies by using the first letter association of W-R-V-A. This will allow you to remember each of the steps together using a familiar acronym.
W – Write it down. Writing down important information helps you remember for three reasons – you get a permanent record of whatever you need to remember, you spend more time with the information by figuring out how to get your words on paper, and you visually see what you are trying to remember. For example, write down appointments in a calendar or write down directions from your doctor.
R – Repeat it. Say aloud or to yourself whatever you are trying to remember at least three to five times. The more times information goes into your brain, the easier it is to pull up later. For example, repeat the name of a colleague you just met in the conversation, or as you’re walking to the kitchen, repeat to yourself why you’re going there.
V – Visualize it. Make a mental image of whatever you are trying to remember, even try to see yourself doing whatever appointment or errand you may be trying to recall. Try to give your visualization as many details as possible. For example, take a visual snapshot of where you leave something to remember where you left it, or see yourself taking out the trash on Friday by visualizing yourself carrying out a trash bag that says Friday on it.
A – Associate it. Form a mental connection between something new and something that you already know. Try to think of any links to new information that might be in your brain and remember the new information along with the connection. For example, you meet someone named Tom, so you connect that person to Tom Hanks, or you have to go to the store a pick up 16 hamburger buns, you could remember that easily if you were born on the 16th and connect it to your birthday.
If you are experiencing memory impairments after a medical diagnosis and want to learn more about the types of treatments we offer, call us at (804) 764-1000 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our speech-language pathologists.