July 31, 2008
-- “He is getting up in age and forgets the names of his loved ones.” “She forgets where she places things, maybe because she is getting older.” “It is just old age!” Memory loss affects almost every household in America, either because a loved one or an acquaintance suffers from some form of memory loss. It can be attributed to many things, including alcohol or drug abuse, brain injury or a psychiatric condition. For many, memory loss is synonymous with aging. It is not a matter of “if” it will happen, but “when”. Memory loss is a life changing experience for both the individual and family members as well. Treatment for memory loss is limited, but it can be treated.
“Memory loss affects us all, but affordable treatments do exist,” says Keishawn Ceaser, Director of Children of New Jersey, Inc., referring to the process of cognitive remediation. “Cognitive remediation, also known as ‘brain training,’ ‘cognitive training,’ and ‘cognitive rehabilitation’
is a variety of exercises designed to help improve functioning in areas such as sustaining attention, visual and auditory processing, listening, and reading. Cognitive remediation has been used in the past by researchers in treating the effects of age on memory and attention.” Today, cognitive remediation therapies are used in treating individuals with schizophrenia and other psychiatric diagnoses as well as a supplement to enhance tutoring, a tool to improve mental acuity, or module to enhance eye-hand coordination.
“Studies conducted since the turn of the century have provided support that computer-based cognitive remediation offers improvement in verbal and visual, secondary and long-term memory, information processing speed, learning, and interference tendency. Elderly participants had an easier time remembering word pairs and recalling lists of words immediately after a prolonged period of time (greater than 30 minutes). Study participants also recalled with ease various visual materials presented. Additionally, the research showed ‘perceptual psychomotor speed and information processing speed also showed improvement.”
Participants also retained verbal instructions and materials and there was a decreased chance of them mixing up similar information. These treatment effects were sustained or improved during a five month evaluation period, showing long-term, sustainable outcomes,” says Ceaser, speaking on a 2003 study conducted at a convalescent home.
“CNJ has brought in several psychologists to supervise this work with individuals of all ages to maximize the total benefits of cognitive remediation,”
says Christopher Plunkett, Business Administrator for Children of New Jersey. “Beginning September 1, 2008, we will begin serving children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Although our programs are generally geared toward children, this program will be open to all individuals 5 years and older.”
Because memory loss can be attributed to many factors, it is suggested that individuals interested in this program undergo a simple evaluation before starting. This evaluation is available through Children of New Jersey and is conducted by a licensed clinical psychologist.
For more information on cognitive remediation or other programs and services offered through CNJ, please visit www.childrennj.com or call 866-540-8088.
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Children of New Jersey, Inc., is a nonprofit organization serving New Jersey's youth through addressing their social, emotional and mental needs. Feel free to visit our site at www.childrennj.com.