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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury awareness month, so it seems appropriate to discuss some memory strategies. Memory is defined as “the ability to recall events on command.” We all would love to have better memories, however, sometimes life events occur that alter this ability, but there are strategies that can help.


Adapt your environment: Hang a dry erase board in your kitchen or office to write down reminders or needed grocery items. You can also keep a dry erase calendar in a central area of your house or office to keep track of your daily/weekly activities. Some of you may be saying that you already do this on your Smart Phone, which is great, but for some folks after a brain injury, they need to “see” reminders to help improve memory skills – a visual reminder. If you want to use your Smart Phone for reminders, make sure to alarm your reminders. You could even set a daily alarm to remind yourself to look at your schedule! If Smart Phones are confusing, you can carry a datebook and get in the habit of reviewing the datebook every morning to review your day’s activities. Make sure you put things back in the same spot (e.g. keys on the hook by the door, coat in the closet, briefcase on the desk in the home office, bills in a basket, etc.) this will help build a routine of where items are to be found and it will significantly decrease your frustration when searching for the items (especially if you are in a hurry!). Routines are very important for memory because they help build long term memories, which is where information we want to retrieve exists.


Improve your wellbeing: Anxiety, stress and depression can significantly decrease memory skills. You need to have a balance between work and relaxation, so seek out/plan enjoyable activities outside of your work day. Maintain friendships and talk about your difficulties and frustrations, you never know who will give you some good strategy suggestions! Stay physically active, even simple exercises like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help. Be assertive; learn to say “no” to excessive demands. This one is really important, manage you time and take breaks. Sometimes after sustaining a brain injury people want to “push” themselves to get better, but this is actually counterproductive. Your body and brain need time to heal and taking breaks is the best way to make progress. Do one thing at a time; establish a goal and break the steps down into smaller, more manageable parts.


Other helpful cognitive strategies: Attention is the key to a better memory, so try to focus on information you want to remember and reduce the background distractions. When trying to remember new information, make associations with existing information in your memory. Mentally retrace your steps to trigger your memory for where you may have left an item. Hang reminder signs or use sticky notes to trigger memories of activities you want/need to do. When trying to recall a list of items, chunk the like items together to be able to recall them more easily.


As a neurorehabilitation specialist I have taught many of these strategies to my clients over the years and the majority had a lot of success. Recovering from a brain injury can take time, but using strategies consistently can definitely help.

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Carol Bardsley, M.A., CPCRT, CBIS – At The Center I facilitate the Therapeutic Activities Group, which is an educational group for people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.  I also provide one-on-one Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy to clients either in their homes or in our office. In addition, I assist Dr. J. Stone with the neuropsychological evaluations.

Our May Talks at the Bucks County IU

Our talks at the Bucks County IU are continuing through May! Below are the topics for May. All talks are from 7pm – 8:30pm. If you would like to register, please call our office at 215-491-1119. If you need ACT 48 Credits, also register through the Bucks County IU by calling 215-348-2940 x1341. These talks are free of charge however there is a fee for ACT 48 Credits.


May 12th Understanding and Managing Concussion in Children and Adolescents – J. Stone, PsyD

Everyone knows that the concussions are a hot topic these days, but do we really understand what happens in the brain. Is complete rest necessary? When should they return to school? To play? To friends? This workshop explains what happens exactly in the brain during a concussion and what intervention are the most helpful. We will also discuss the differences between a concussion and post-concussion syndrome – a far more troubling condition to treat. A must for any parent who has a child with a brain!


May 19th How to Improve Your Attention and Memory – J. Stone, PsyD

Feel like you’re forgetting more often? Can’t remember why you walked into a room? Or half of the grocery list? Is your child struggling with managing homework and other responsibilities? This workshop will explain how attention and working memory work to allow us to be effective and efficient in managing our tasks and our lives – and how to improve your capacity to remember more and be more successful.


May 26th What Is Emotion Regulation And Why Is It Important? – Jean Ruttenberg, MA

People regulate their emotions all the time. However, on most occasions we are not conscious that we are doing so. This workshop will explore how emotions affect our behavior and interactions with others.

The objectives of this workshop will be to:

  • describe and define emotion regulation
  • describe its function
  • describe its effect on behavior
  • describe its effect on relationships


For more details on any of these events, please feel free to contact us.

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