There are many reasons why your memory may not be as good as it used to be. Reasons range from age to injury. Diagnosing the cause or degree of memory problems is beyond the scope of this post. If your goal is to understand the origin or degree of injury, please consult a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist for proper testing and evaluation. The purpose of this post is to help people find the external compensation tools that reduce the impact of a memory problem.
External compensation tools are generally classified into one of the following five categories:
- Brain boosting food
- Medicine or herbal supplements
- Board, tile, or card games
- Electronic games and tools
Brain Boosting Food
I have eaten many “brain boosting” foods. Although I did not notice any difference in attention, storage, processing, or recall, my conclusion is far from scientific. The amount I tried may have been too small. I may have eaten the food too infrequently. I may not have combined the food with the proper activating ingredients. Perhaps the super foods only improve the memories of other people or laboratory mice.
Medicine or Herbal Supplements
Many companies sell medicine or herbal supplements that may, or may not, reduce memory loss without causing other problems. I am not a doctor, and I am not a huge fan of medicine or herbal supplements. My personal feeling, which may or may not be correct, is that the side effects of medicine and supplements tend to be worse than the symptoms they are designed to treat.
Board, tile, or Card Games
Many of the games I used to enjoy playing as a child turn out to be great external memory compensation tools. Although I stopped playing the games for many years because I was so busy with school and work, I started playing them again a year or so after my brain surgery. Games such as Memory, Concentration, Mahjong, and Rummy Cube are fun to play, exercise the brain, and strengthen memory.
There are three types of puzzles that I still use to sharpen my memory: Sudoku, Mind Benders, and Jigsaw Puzzles. You can make each puzzle as easy or as difficult as you want. When I first started working with the puzzles, I found the easiest levels of each puzzle to be very difficult. As my memory grew stronger, I found the basic puzzles to be too easy. Now I like the very difficult, challenging, and time-consuming puzzles found only on the internet. Some of the puzzles I enjoy solving are so difficult that I remember very little about the numbers, shapes, or words that would be helpful.
Electronic Games and Tools
For a reason I don’t understand, this category of external memory tools seems be the most controversial and least understood. Games and tools are not bad simply because they are online. In some cases, the games and tools that help people could not exist anywhere other than online. A site that I recommend, for those who are interested in reading software reviews written by brain injury survivors, is ID 4 the web. There is no fee to comment about software you have used. However, registration is required and all comments are moderated to ensure the site remains free of spam and inappropriate comments.
Why do you believe you have a memory problem? What is the problem preventing you from doing? How would you know if your memory is getting better or worse? What is your plan for addressing your memory issues?
Thank you to Michelle Wild, Jan Heck, and the other contributors to ID 4 the Web.