What is Working Memory?
Essentially, working memory is the ability to mentally hold and manipulate information over a short period of time. You might think of it as a cognitive “workspace” in which we temporarily store information we hear, see, or feel (tactile) in order to do something with it. From a working memory perspective, the two dominant domains are phonological and visuo-spatial. There is often a good deal of overlap and synergy between the two. There are direct consequences to impaired working memory. Reduced or impaired working memory means that one cannot efficiently make new memories and may be limited in performing life tasks.
Here are some examples of everyday working memory:
- Remembering a new phone number or an address
- Following directions—“Make a left turn at the traffic light, and the gas station is on your right.”
- Remembering a person’s name just after meeting her
- Making a mental math calculation—You want to buy an item at the grocery store, and you quickly calculate whether you have enough money.
How do the two Exercise Books Improve Memory and Cognition?
From a clinical perspective, if one wants to improve contextual memory, executive functions, or cognitive-communication skills, one would concentrate treatment on improving working memory. The exercises are designed to promote neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, especially through specific cognitive exercises. Neuroplasticity promotes neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to “rewire,” forming new circuits in the brain that compensate for injury and disease. Cognitive reserve refers to the brain’s ability to tolerate brain pathology (like Alzheimer’s disease) with minimum cognitive loss (like memory loss). For those who experience brain trauma or disease that can compromise cognition, the Exercise Books are designed to strengthen the brain’s defenses, to protect against deteriorating cognitive functioning, and optimize performance. The exercises are intended to improve memory by concentrating the dynamics of neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve.
For Whom are the Exercise Books Designed?
The Professional Edition
This Exercise Book is designed for professionals from numerous healthcare disciplines (e.g., speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, formal caregivers, social workers, recreation therapists) and patients. Speech-language pathologists should find specific application for the treatment of cognitive-communication disorders. Cognitive-communication disorders are communication impairments resulting from underlying cognitive deficits. Deficits in attention, memory, organization, information processing, problem solving, and executive functions are examples, as these cognitive problems disrupt communicative competence (i.e., listening, speaking, reading, writing, conversation, and social interaction). While this Exercise Book is primarily focused on memory and attention, it also encompasses all of these cognitive skills.
This Exercise Book may be effective for patients who experience cognitive impairment and dementia caused by strokes, acquired brain injuries, or neuro-degenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease. One may expect maximum benefit from participants with mild to moderate impairments. While clients with severe cognitive deficits often benefit, overall success may be limited due to insufficient neuro-circuit integrity (i.e., too much neuronal damage). Providers are encouraged to “start low and go slow” for clients with significant cognitive impairment as indicated by BCAT® scores.
The Home Edition:
This Exercise Book is designed for users at home who are interested in improving cognitive skills, enhancing independence, maintaining brain health, or lowering risk of dementia. Because adult children and siblings of family members who have dementia may be more at risk for cognitive decline, this Exercise Book may be an excellent choice for mitigating risk. This Exercise Book is most effectively used as part of the comprehensive ENRICH® program which is designed to promote brain health.
To learn more about ENRICH®, visit https://enrichvisits.com/shop.