Maximizing Attention and Memory

Presented by the HealthPRO-Heritage Rehabilitation Team in partnership with the Kensington of Sierra Madre

The Research: Benefits of Memory Training

There is lots of research on memory training in older adults, including encoding strategies to improve episodic memory, and training of the cognitive processes (working memory) that trigger a range of more complex cognitive tasks (planning).  Researchers have noticed positive effects from strategies used to improve memory training with maintenance through 5 years of follow-up.  Evidence shows that older adults can be trained to use cognitive strategies.  Effects of cognitive training are able to be transferred to everyday tasks.  Training with multiple strategies is associated with larger gains.

Basic Memory Functions:

Encoding: Taking in information.

Storage: Retaining the information.

Retrieval: Recall of information.

How Do We Process Information?

  • Sensory Memory: Briefly hold information (1-3 seconds) that is sent to the brain via the senses.
  • Short-term/working memory (STM): The information you pay attention to enters STM and stays for around 20 seconds unless information is repeated (remembering a phone # to write it down). Capacity for STM is about 5-9 items/chunks. STM will become overloaded if more items are added.
  • Long-term memory: Using strategies of organization, visualization, and elaboration, one can effectively store information here.

Why Do We Forget Things?

  • Errors of Omission: Fail to bring to mind desired facts, events, or ideas.
  • Errors of Commission: Form of memory is present, but incorrect.
  • Attention, multitasking, and distractions: Variables that may cause us to forget.

Strategies to Improve Long-Term Memory:

PAVE your way to a better memory.

X