Memory is the ability to recall past experience and knowledge. It can be classified into different types of memory:
- Short-term memory (STM) – which deals with information that has been remembered over a period of a few minutes
- Long-term memory (LTM) – which deals with information that is to be remembered for a longer period than this
When we want to remember things, the information is brought back from long-term memory to short term memory; this process is called retrieval.
Difficulties with remembering things can be due to problems with:
- Recording the memory in the first place (encoding)
- Storing information in memory (storage)
- Recovering information from LTM (retrieval)
Memory problems sometimes reflect difficulties of other kinds, like sleep disturbance, anxiety and depression, attentional problems and language problems.
People with epilepsy commonly complain about memory problems, some of the difficulties people can experience are:
- Forgetting to do something
- Forgetting names
- Forgetting where you put something
- Forgetting what people tell you
- Forgetting how to get somewhere
- Forgetting what you are reading.
Simple strategies may help overcome these difficulties.
Possible ways of adapting to living with memory problems are:
- Following a set routine
- Adapting your surroundings
- Using “mnemonics”
- Improving your general well-being
It is often helpful to combine several strategies to enhance your memory in the event that one fails, you can rely on another as back-up. For example, you could use both a calendar and an alarm to remind you to go to an appointment.