What is cognitive retraining and cognitive rehabilitation?

There are several different websites promoting “cognitive retraining”. Examples of cognitive retraining would be word and number games, trying to solve puzzles with gradually increasing complexity and gradually increasing your processing speed. These certainly do no harm but what has yet to be proven is whether or not they are applicable to real life situations or do they make you just very good at this particular task. Therefore, my advice would be to do these at your leisure but to not invest a huge amount of time or finance in to them in the hope that these will prevent dementia- it may prevent dementia but this has not yet been confirmed by the evidence. I would focus on successful ageing strategies in the first instance.

Cognitive rehabilitation is a little bit different. This type of therapy is more focused on trying to improve day-to-day functioning. It is individual in that the programme designed will be based on your specific memory or cognitive complaints. So if your main trouble is using the phone such as remembering phone numbers or where to find them your cognitive rehabilitation will focus on teaching you ways of remembering how to do this task which will have a positive day to day impact on your level of functioning. Using memory tips and reminders may also form part of this rehabilitation.

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