Traumatic brain injuries can leave victims with many types of cognitive impairment. One of the most common and frustrating of these is short-term memory loss, because the middle sections of the brain process incoming information. The tissue in this area is particularly vulnerable to compression and tearing. Swelling can compress the central tissues, crushing and damaging brain cells. Whiplash injuries can cause tears from the intense force of front and back movements. When this central processing area suffers damage, patients have trouble remembering information and storing it.
How to Cope with Memory Loss
Every head injury program includes memory specialists to help those suffering from memory loss. A speech therapist plays this role most often, teaching a patient several coping strategies. The patient will choose a few that work best based on his or her individual needs. Although every patient will have a different impairment, and therefore different preferred strategies, these five work well for most.
Write It Down
A single notebook is the best tool for storing information, keeping it always the same place. Patients should always record information while it is fresh on their minds. One common mistake for those learning this strategy is to make incomplete notes. Patients should include all necessary bits of information so that even a stranger would understand what the information is intended to do.
Learn to Organize
Organizing information tends to make it easier to remember. For example, putting objects in the same place every time makes them easier to find when needed. Instead of taking time to think about all the places an object might be, the patient has one location in which to look. This helps patients to keep treatment schedules and doctors’ appointments.
Difficult lessons can be easier to learn when information is absorbed in small bits. The strategy is comparable to taking a class in knitting. No one could learn all knitting techniques in one sitting. However, most people can easily learn one type of stitch and master only that stitch before moving onto another aspect of knitting.
Association involves mentally tying an object to an idea, making the information easier to retrieve. For example, if the patient wants to remember the name of a new acquaintance, Jane, he or she might associate the name with candy cane, a phrase that rhymes. It will be easier to remember candy cane matches Jane than to retrieve Jane’s name alone.
Use “To Do” Lists
Inside the planner should be a to-do list that helps the patient follow daily tasks. By following routines, patients struggle less with time management. They need not struggle to remember everything they must do. To-do lists are also helpful with weekly tasks such as checking for due bills and depositing a check at the bank.
If you or someone you love suffers from memory loss following traumatic brain injury, contact our experienced attorneys. We will meet with you at no cost and help you learn about your rights to compensation. If you decide to file a brain injury lawsuit, we will help you gain every dollar your rightfully deserve.