Improving Recall in a Person with Dementia: Investigating the Effectiveness of Memory Priming and Spaced Retrieval in an Older Adult with Dementia

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Because it is often perceived that individuals with dementia cannot relearn information that has been forgotten, few nonpharmacological memory-enhancing interventions have been developed for this population. The current study involved the investigation of a novel memory-enhancement procedure called memory priming (MP) with a 95-year-old individual with dementia. MP is based on the assumption that an individual’s ability to learn is enhanced when learning trials are preceded by an activity that is enjoyable and can be done successfully. MP required the individual to engage in a 5-min preferred conversation followed by the presentation of target questions every 2 min. A memory-enhancement procedure known as spaced retrieval was then used to maintain the information learned through MP. Results provide initial evidence for the utility of MP followed by spaced retrieval for enhancing the recall and retention of meaningful information. MP may provide a simple means for helping individuals with dementia relearn forgotten information.



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Clinical Case Studies