Solution Name: Improving Memory Through Spaced Retrieval
Spaced retrieval can help individuals with cognitive deficits learn to retain important information by cementing the information in the procedural memory system. Possible treatment targets include:
the use of compensatory strategies for swallowing, safe transfer techniques
the names of caregivers, and the use of memory aids (e.g. schedules and calendars). A
achievement of these goals can promote independence and reduce anxiety, as well as improve interactions between the client and clinician or caregiver.
It’s important to choose memory targets that are personal, functional, and perhaps most importantly, won’t change. Imagine taking the time to teach someone that sewing night is Tuesday, only to have bowling night change to Wednesday! Start with one or two targets to see how the person responds to the treatment.
Steps to Take in Space Retrieval
Choose one or more functional targets or goals (ex., remembering facts such a name or room number, remembering to perform a certain action, remembering future activities).
Ask a question to elicit the target response. If the person answers/performs correctly the first time, choose another target for the session. If the answer is unknown or incorrect, tell or show them the right answer and have them repeat it back.
Ask again 15 seconds later. If they can’t recall, give the answer and have them repeat it back. Try again in 15 seconds. If it’s still not right, spaced retrieval may not be appropriate.
When the answer is given correctly, double the time interval (15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 8 minutes, etc.) and ask the question again. Repeat this step each time the answer is correctly given.
If the answer is incorrect, give the right answer immediately and ask the question again at the last correct time interval.
In between asking the questions, fill the intervals with other therapy activities or conversation – though it’s best to choose activities or topics that have little to do with the memory target.
In between asking the questions, fill the intervals with other activities or conversation – though it’s best to choose activities or topics that have little to do with the memory target.