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Rehabilitation of memory for everyday life
In L-G Nilsson & N Ohta (Eds.), Memory and society: Psychological Perspectives., 269-280
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This chapter has been concerned with the rehabilitation of people with memory difficulties. Rehabilitation is taken to mean enabling people to achieve their optimum level of functioning and return to their most appropriate environment. It does not have, as a major concern, the improvement of scores on tests. If recovery is taken to include partial resolution of cognitive deficits then some recovery is to be expected after non-progressive brain injury. Most memory-impaired people show relatively little recovery once the early stages are passed, although most learn to adapt to and compensate for their problems - at least to some extent. There are some general strategies that can be taught to memory-impaired people and their families or carers. These include guidelines to enable people to encode, store and retrieve information more effectively. I addition to these general guidelines, more-specific techniques are considered, particularly environmental adaptations, ways to improve learning such as "errorless learning" and compensations for memory impairment including electronic memory aids. The final section addresses the emotional consequences of memory impairment. Anxiety, depression and social isolation are common in people with memory difficulties, they may be as handicapping as the cognitive deficits themselves and should be part of any memory rehabilitation programme. Although we probably cannot restore memory functioning to the level present before the neurological insult, we can reduce the effects of impaired memory on everyday life and can improve quality of life for clients and their families.