Stroke Memory Problems

Practical Tips for Memory Loss After a Stroke
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Types of memory problems that can occur after a stroke

Some memory loss after a stroke is common, but sometimes it's so subtle, you might not even notice the problem until the stroke survivor has to perform complicated daily tasks.

Memory problems can manifest either as trouble learning new information and skills or trouble remembering and retrieving information.

  • Problems with verbal memory: trouble learning or remembering names, stories, or other information having to do with words.
  • Problems with visual memory: trouble learning or remembering faces, shapes, directions, or other things sensed by sight.
  • Vascular dementia: an overall decline in thinking abilities, with symptoms similar to Alzheimer's.

It's unlikely that a stroke survivor's memory will be completely restored. But for many people, memory can improve over time, spontaneously or with rehabilitation. Meanwhile, here are ways you can help.

  • If memory loss is dramatic, address the problem when the person is still in the hospital. If a stroke survivor can't remember his name or where he lives, you'll need to arrange for more care than he had before the stroke.
  • Keep important items in designated places. For example, hang keys on a hook by the door and keep wallets or purses on a hall table.
  • Set daily routines performed in the same sequence. For example, to get ready for bed, he'll first put on pajamas, then brush teeth, and then use the toilet.
  • Repeat yourself often if a stroke survivor forgets what you've said. Though it can be frustrating to say the same thing over and over, you're helping him by patiently repeating what you've already said.
  • Help him keep a notebook of important information. You might want to divide it into separate sections, with labels for doctor's appointments, medications, and personal information.
  • Create mnemonic devices to help remember simple tasks. For example, the phrase "ALL OK" might help a stroke survivor remember what needs to be done before he leaves the house: appliances (off), lights (off), locked (door), oven (off), keys (in pocket).


Stephanie Trelogan

Stephanie Trelogan writes about heart disease, stroke, and depression issues that concern people caring for their aging parents. See full bio

almost 5 years, said...

One of my probs I have gone into reverse like I'm right handed but now and again I use left hand.and count and Rember things backwards.what is this and why

about 5 years, said...

since my wife just doesn't appreciate how important encouragement is to me, I some times get "testy" when she is trying to help, and I feel she is too controlling. I see it as fighting to regain and maintain independence. It seems to lead to resentment - from my point of view it seems like a fight. Spotlighting this with solutions would be valuable.

over 7 years, said...

Shanta stroke Managing psychological aspects Observations 1 Learning any thing new is very difficult as she forgets easily. She has to be told again and again. For many days same thing is to be repeated again and again. After long time she may learn. Temporary memory is affected and therefore sequence is very difficult to remember. She says same thing very often again and again. She does not remember if medicine is taken. She does not remember if lunch is taken. She does not remember what were the items in the lunch. She even forgets in which room she is. She very frequently goes for urination and forgets. After coming from urination again immediately asks for urination. Practically every half an hour she asks for urination and goes for. 2 She shouts loudly for what ever she wants. She is very persistent in getting what she wants. She talks loudly non-sense words and some times filthy words too. 3 She needs some body to be with her constantly and all the time. She will not get up and will not walk if some body is not around. This is because she is very much afraid of falling. Out of fear of falling she is not attempting to walk on her own. That fear is enhanced by seven minor falls she had. 4 She experiences hallucinations. In the toilet some time she sees ghosts. She sees two snakes winding around each other. 5 Some time she becomes too emotional. Bouts of emotions.She weeps and laughs too simultaneously changing quickly from one mode to another. Some times even she slaps after shouting. Crying,scolding anybody without fear rightly or wrongly. She asks for sex frequently. Some times behaves like very understanding person and immediately next moment she will act and speak irrationaly. 6 Very sensitive to temperature changes. Makes ac and fan very often on and off. Asks to switch off lights. Asks to pull curtains to cut off light. Asks to switch off TV and Radio. Does not like noise. Does not like many peoples talking simultaneously. Does not like any body discussing any issues before her. Even if some body is talking on telephone she does not like. 7 She likes lying down in the bed all the time. She will not like to sit even for some time. 8 Does not like rice and chapati. Likes hotel food and dishes. Taste is disturbed. She likes oily and sweet things.

over 7 years, said...

I have learnt to be patient in repeating the things frequently and very often to my wife who has typical memory loss during stroke. I am avoiding frustration by accepting the situation I am put in.