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Friday, December 9, 2011

Aphasia & Memory Loss

I swear, the more I learn about aphasia, the less I understand. I don't think even the experts know exactly what is going on inside an aphasic's mind. All through Bob's professional speech therapy, the therapists' were in agreement on one thing, which was the use of flashcards to help relearn the names of objects. But flashcards have not proven to be very effective with Bob. No matter how many times he is shown a flashcard picture of, say, an elephant, he cannot seem to remember from one day to the next that that is indeed an elephant...

Same goes with our morning routine, after bedbath and I get him dressed for the day, I always quiz him on the names of "socks" "pants" and "shirt" as we put these on. I've been doing this for nearly six months and Bob sometimes remembers these names and other times, he will insist that "socks" are "pancakes" or that "pants" are indeed "sandals" and the "shirt" still leaves him just confused.

Which makes me wonder just how much of this is aphasia and how much of it is due to short-term memory problems. Bob also suffers from long-term memory loss. It seems, in fact, that whole chunks of his memories have disappeared since the stroke. He cannot remember, for example, that he has sisters. This became apparent to me when someone asked Bob if he had any "brothers or sisters". And Bob shook his head "no" and even after I explained that he did indeed have two sisters (living) and one deceased, he looked at me totally confused, then insisted I was wrong. He also seems to have no recollection that he was previously married and that marriage produced two children.... I do wonder if any of these long term memories can come back. Be restored, so to speak.

Though, I suppose, the loss of certain memories could be considered a blessing of sorts.

Anyway, for the moment, I've ditched the flashcards and we have begun working on short-term memory issues.

Bob's Memory Game
A special thanks to Jenn who sent Bob this Memory Game from Hasbro. The game consists of cardboard picture cards which are turned upside down and the idea is to remember where certain pictures are located and to collect pairs.

The first time Bob attempted this game, he was absolutely terrible at it. He's still not very good, but getting better the more we play it.

And it helps that it is a competitive game, because simply he hates to lose!


Helen M said...

From the quantity of cards on the board, I think I would have trouble remembering where anything was. I generally choose the card next to the card I want. I wonder if this game would be good to use to pass the time with my mother. She has dementia and won't remember it when I leave the room, but maybe she could get into it while I'm there. Best wishes for you and Bob.

Barb Polan said...

What a wonderful game to play with Bob. It was always a challenge for me to play it with kids when they were young - I wonder if I'm better or worse at it now.

Nikki said...

Games are a good therapy for lots of disabilities, I think!

Anonymous said...

Not only the aphasia, but it seems that most all dementias are so misunderstood and baffling to the professionals, let alone those of us that have to deal with it daily. My wife has short term memory loss/dementia and it appears to vary from day to day. One day she can't remember what she ate for breakfast an hour later, other days she can tell me what she had for meals for the past several days. She'll start a sentence talking about her sister, and in mid sentence the subject is about a trip we made 3 yrs ago.

I really like that memory game that you and Bob are playing. I would think it should help Bob.

Have a wonderful weekend. Caring1 (Dan)