Regaining memory after stroke might be possible with cognitive training.
Previously, there wasn’t enough research to back up this statement, but now we know better.
Although the studies are limited, there’s hope for improving memory after stroke by engaging the brain’s natural ability to rewire itself.
Before we show you how, it’s important to understand where memory problems come from.
Improving Memory After Stroke
A stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when the supply of blood in the brain is compromised by either a clogged or burst artery.
When a stroke is happening, brain cells are deprived of oxygen-rich blood, which leads to brain damage. Once the stroke has been treated, the blood flow is restored.
Unfortunately, you cannot revive the dead brain cells — but hope is not lost!
The brain possesses the ability to rewire itself through a process called neuroplasticity. This allows healthy parts of the brain to “pick up the slack.”
Neuroplasticity is how you can recover lost functions after stroke like movement, speech, and – now the latest research shows – even memory.
Rewiring the Brain to Improve Memory After Stroke
Just like repetition of leg exercises can help you improve leg function – the repetition of cognitive exercises can help improve cognition.
Outdated articles on improving memory after stroke say that cognitive training is not actually proven to improve memory after stroke – but that was decades ago.
Now, we know better. We know there’s more room for hope.
The brain is always trying to adapt to whatever you repeatedly focus on. It wants to be as efficient as possible to conserve energy.
When you begin to practice cognitive exercises consistently, the brain will try to adapt to make things easier.
Your brain can literally recruit new parts of the brain to take over the function of memory.
You just need to follow a regimen of effective exercises – preferably daily.
Memory Exercises for Stroke Patients
Here are some cognitive exercises for improving memory after stroke:
Long-term memory is encoded through association. You can try to improve your memory by focusing on association with pictures, sounds, and meaning.
For example, if you have trouble remembering to take your medication in the morning, then picture your medications bottles next to a pot of coffee.
By focusing on this association, you will have a better chance at remembering your medication when you see your morning pot of coffee.
The more you repeat this exercise, the more effective it will be.
Another great way to improve memory is by visualizing yourself remembering something.
For example, if you always forget to buy milk when you’re at the store, then spend a little time visualizing yourself going to the store and buying milk. The mental movie will be full of images that are great for association.
Then, when you actually go to the store, you’ll have a greater chance of remembering milk because your mind associates the store with the image of milk!
This is just like mental practice, which has been shown to boost neuroplasticity.
3. Cognitive Training Apps
If you struggle with memory problems after stroke, it can be hard to get yourself to do these exercises daily.
One way to solve that problem is to use a cognitive training app like the CT Speech and Cognitive Therapy App.
It contains expert cognitive training exercises that are customized to meet your unique needs like improving memory after stroke.
All you have to do is remember to use the app daily (and you can set an alarm on your phone for that).
Now that you know how to improve memory after stroke, you might be wondering how long it’ll take to see results…
Memory Loss Recovery Time After Stroke
Since every stroke is different, every stroke recovery timeline will be different, too.
Sometimes stroke patients may experience spontaneous recovery where memory problems go away on their own.
Spontaneous recovery may happen quickly within a few months or may occur a few years down the road.
If you take an active role in your recovery by practicing cognitive training exercises, you may see improvements within a few weeks or months.
It’s not guaranteed to work, but your work ethic can be a defining factor.
You’ll never know how quickly you can regain memory after stroke until you start practicing.
Recovering Memory After Stroke
Neuroplasticity provides hope for stroke patients who want to regain lost functions, including memory.
The key is to practice cognitive training exercises with consistency so that your brain has the stimulation it needs to rewire itself.
There is no guarantee – but there’s more hope than researchers previously thought.
We hope this article filled you with hope for recovering memory after stroke.
If you have any personal experience you can share, please leave us a comment below!