Making the Most of Your Memory: An Everyday Memory Skills Program
Written by Kylie Radford, Miranda Say, Zoe Thayer & Laurie Miller
This program is suitable for neuro-psychologists and other cognitive rehabilitation clinicians working with adult patients with various everyday memory problems associated with epilepsy, stroke or other acquired brain injuries. It may also be adapted for older adults with mild cognitive impairment or subjective memory concerns. Everyday memory problems are common in patients with neurological disorders and can be related to underlying impairment in a range of different cognitive domains, including episodic memory, attention and executive functioning, as well as prospective memory. The group intervention manual describes a 6-week memory training program, with each session including a psychoeducation topic, demonstration and practice of internal and external compensatory memory strategies, lifestyle strategies, and setting and review of homework tasks to apply strategies in everyday life. Psychoeducation topics include understanding memory stages, the impact of brain injury on the brain and memory function, sleep, stress, medications and mood. Memory strategies include remembering routes (navigating), remembering names, and simplifying complex information or making it more meaningful to make it easier to remember (e.g. clustering, associations). External aids include physical reminders, electronic devices, photographs, diaries and calendars, and note taking. Lifestyle strategies include tips for improving sleep, managing stress, and developing organisational strategies.
The authors – Kylie Radford, Miranda Say, Zoe Thayer and Laurie Miller – conducted a randomised controlled trial to evaluate this program with groups of outpatients at a major hospital in Sydney, Australia. This trial demonstrated significant improvements in memory strategy use, verbal episodic memory performance and ratings of prospective memory function in daily life.
The Making the Most of Your Memory kit includes a manual describing the 6-week memory training program, as well as digital facilitator slide templates. Group handouts and other materials are provided in the manual, and can be copied for distribution to group participants.