What is the Best Therapy for Memory Loss? | Iris Reading
What is the Best Therapy for Memory Loss?

What is the Best Therapy for Memory Loss?

What is the Best Therapy for Memory Loss?

The best therapy for memory loss includes:

  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) 
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • Memory Support Interventions
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

You may be experiencing memory loss or know someone going through it. It could be because of an illness, trauma, brain injury, age, or memory decay.

All is not lost if you catch it early. Various therapies have proved effective in improving memory and slowing decay.

In this post, we share the best therapy for memory loss. Through these treatments, you learn useful and practical strategies to overcome memory-related difficulties.

Let’s begin!

1. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST)

CST refers to evidence-based therapy for treating people with moderate to mild dementia. It is a cost-effective treatment that has been proven to improve cognitive and language skills in people with memory loss.

Studies confirm that CST improves cognitive function in people with dementia. This therapy promotes thinking and concentration. 

CST also helps people with memory loss retain and recall information much better through guided sessions.

How CST works

CST is carried out in group settings. In the sessions, patients trigger their memory by talking about the past, current events, and daily interests. 

Originally, the therapy consisted of 14 sessions carried out twice weekly for 7 weeks. But trained health professionals can extend the treatment period depending on the patient’s needs.

The purpose of the group sessions is to create an engaging and stimulating environment for people with dementia. It also has a social benefit.

The sessions are formatted to ensure consistency. For instance, in each session, participants sing the theme song and engage in warm-up exercises.

Trained healthcare professionals such as registered nurses can administer this therapy.

Types of CST

The Geriatric Education Centre at Saint Louis University recognizes these forms of CST.

1. Exercise-based CST

This therapy integrates exercises such as warm-ups in CST to stimulate the brain and improve memory recall. 

The premise of this treatment is that physical activity improves memory recall and concentration. It also improves the mobility of older adults with memory loss.

2. Spiritual CST

It incorporates spirituality as a coping mechanism. This is useful for people with memory loss. 

Common practices include singing hymns and keeping scripture or other faith-based material to help one cope.

3. Individual CST (iCST)

Here, the health professional gives one-on-one treatment instead of as a group. The professional follows specific guidelines for structuring the sessions.

4. Caregiver-assisted CST

These are group-based interventions for caregivers of people with memory loss. You learn topics covered in the group CST to help your loved ones cope with their declining memory.

Benefits of CST

  • The cognitive improvement is comparable to when you take medication.
  • Improves language skills such as comprehension and naming
  • Cost-effective in treating memory loss
  • The social aspect of group CST improves concentration and enhances your mood.

Drawbacks of CST

  • Ineffective in people with advanced dementia. 

2. Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy is effective in treating memory deficits and improving cognitive skills.

How CT works

First, trained health professionals assess your cognitive skills. The assessment reveals the level of attentiveness, memory, and ability to perform executive functions such as problem-solving.

Then, they teach you compensatory strategies to help you tackle daily tasks more confidently and independently.

Compensatory strategies for memory loss

Your physician or therapist may propose a combination of these strategies as part of the Cognitive Therapy.

1. Write notes and daily reminders on sticky notes or in a journal. It helps with your attention:

  • Have a calendar to note and remember appointments.
  • Set your appointments at the same time. For instance, you could book every medical checkup for 10:00 am.
  • Store your items in the same place every day, such as putting your house keys in the same drawer.
  • Organize your medication in a daily pillbox. This practice helps with memory compensation.
  • Embrace assistive technology such as timers, smartwatches with GPS, a duress bracelet, and a mobile-enabled digital key for your house.
  • Adaptive equipment for mobility like a walker or grab bars in the bathroom

2. Mental exercises such as:

3. Memory Support Intervention

Memory support strategies were developed to help patients remember and comply with their treatment, such as taking daily medication. These interventions are effective in memory improvement when used alongside conventional therapies such as CT or CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

Memory support strategies

There are 8 strategies for memory support:

1. Attention recruitment

The therapist or healthcare professional uses different presentation modes to get your attention, such as note-taking, handouts, songs, imagery, or role-playing. Memory flashcards can also prove useful in attention recruitment.

Attention is affected by mood, interests, motive, and mindset. You will find it easy to concentrate on things that interest you.

2. Categorization

The therapist works with you to create a group treatment point using ‘we’ phrases. For example, “let us write down a routine that shows how we will sleep the same time each night.”

3. Evaluation 

The therapist works with you to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each treatment point. For instance, you could discuss the benefits of going to bed at the same time each night.

4. Application

The therapist encourages you to think of past, current, or future scenarios about the treatment session.

5. Repetition

The therapist restates and revisits treatment information to encourage memory recall and retention.

6. Practice remembering

Your therapist will help you restate or rephrase a treatment point, such as what you’ve learned from that day’s session. 

7. Cue-based reminders

The therapist helps you learn cues to boost your memorization using reminders on your phone and mnemonics such as rhymes and acronyms.

Mnemonics are one of the best memory improvement techniques.

8. Praise recall

Lastly, the therapist rewards you for successfully recalling what you’ve learned or implemented.

4. Cognitive  Behavioural Therapy

CBT is a psychotherapy that helps you change how you feel, think, and behave. It is especially effective in working memory training for people with anxiety over their memory loss. 

How CBT works

CBT is a three-pronged approach:

  1. Influence cognition because your thoughts influence your behavior.
  2. Monitor and modify your thoughts towards memory loss.
  3. Change the way you think so you can change your behaviors. It’d be difficult to perform compensatory strategies such as daily mental exercises if you feel anxious or depressed about your memory.

Benefits of CBT

  • Helps improve your mood. Emotions affect short-term memory. Negative emotions such as sadness hinder information retention, while positive emotions promote memory retention and recall.
  • Lowers your stress and anxiety. Studies on Attention Control Theory confirm that anxiety affects our cognition by distracting and shifting our concentration. 

This distraction affects how the brain updates information in our working memory. CBT can be helpful working memory training to increase attentional control

Supporting your therapy

In addition to the therapies, you can boost your memory by:

  • Enrolling in our memory maximizing course to learn proven techniques that you can start practicing today.
  • Eating brain-boosting foods: Avoid the 10 worst foods for memory, such as refined carbs, sugary drinks, processed meat, and fast food.
  • Keeping your body in shape: Get adequate sleep, exercise, and stay hydrated.
  • Managing your stress: You can try meditation, aromatherapy, and yoga for stress relief and relaxation.
  • Take medication as advised by your physician. Drugs such as Cholinesterase inhibitors and Glutamate regulators can treat cognitive symptoms such as memory loss in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There’s a trial drug for reversing memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Test your memory: Try assessments like picture recall, sentence repetition, face recall, or random puzzles. 

You could also take formal memory tests such as the Montre Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Short Test of Mental Status, and the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE). They assess your learning, language, attention, perception, motor skills, processing speed, and executive skills (such as reasoning and problem-solving).

Final thoughts

The best therapy for memory loss includes:

  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) 
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • Memory Support Interventions
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

You can now supplement these treatments with our Maximize Memory course to delay memory loss. The course will help you increase concentration, optimize comprehension, and recall information more effectively.

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