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The B Independent store is now closed

After 17 years online, the two families who started B Independent are retiring.  No new orders will be accepted, although we'll still be here through the end of the month to handle issues with existing orders.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has shared in our incredible online adventure.  Thank you for shopping with us, challenging and inspiring us over the last 17 years.  You're the best -- stay strong and b independent!

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Memory improvement

Memory problems often go hand-in-hand with brain injury. 

Memory is often not so much lost as hard to find.  Steven Rose

Remembering involves several structures within the brain.  Damage any of these structures and memory suffers.  Here is a quick rundown of problems and suggestions for coping with them.

Absorbing information

Just taking in information can be difficult for the brain injured.  Language or perceptual problems can cause confusion or overload.  To help, try the following:

  • Simplify  Use easier words and shorter sentences.  Break instructions into individual steps.
  • Restate  Put information into your own words.  Does it make sense?  This allows you (and others) to test for understanding.
  • Link  If possible, associate new information with something you already know.
  • Organize  Group items into meaningful categories.  You can organize by time, location, color, shape, size, function, even age!  Be creative.
  • Break it up  Don't try to take in too much at one time.  Concentrate for a few minutes, then move on to something else.  You will learn more in several short sessions than one long one.
The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve:  One hour after assimilating new information, over half of it is already forgotten.

Storing information

Just absorbing information is not enough.  You have to hang onto it.  To reduce memory-seepage, try this:

  • Rehearse  Immediately after seeing or hearing something, try to recall it.  Wait a few minutes, then check again.  Gradually lengthen the intervals between rehearsals.

Memory is the thing you forget with.  Alexander Chase, Perspectives (1966)

Recalling information

So, you've learned and practiced new information until it is safely stowed in memory.  Unfortunately, you're still not home free.  You need to be able to bring it to mind when needed.  This might help:

  • Jog your memory  Lose something?  Think back to when you last had it.  What did you do next?  And after that?  Mentally, walk yourself through each of the activities that followed.  Prodding your memory this way may enable you to recall what happened to the missing item.
  • Use a cue  Symbolic reminders (the proverbial string around the finger) are helpful.  So too are memos, timers, calendar notes, etc.--keep them in  visible, appropriate places.
  • Get organized  Have fixed locations for all important papers, key phone numbers, medications, key, wallets, glasses, and tools.  Think carefully about logical placement of items, or this won't work very well.
  • Develop routines  Routines can anchor memories so they don't drift away.

"Well, at any rate it's a great comfort," she said as she stepped under the trees, "after being so hot to get into the--into the--into what?" she went on, rather surprised at not being able to think of the word.  "I mean to get under the--under the--under this, you know!" putting her hand on the trunk of the tree.  "What does it call itself, I wonder?"  Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Learn more

These techniques are only the beginning.  Learn more about improving memory:

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