Swiss Cheese Memory After Brain Injury

Swiss Cheese Memory

If you are a caregiver to a survivor of brain injury you may be dealing with gaps in memory.  Their memory problems can be very confusing.  At first the survivor of traumatic brain injury may not be able to remember anything from one day to the next.  As the survivor recovers their memory starts to improve.  This is probably going to be a very slow process but never the less memory will come back gradually.  Names of therapists and schedules of therapy may be hard to remember as their memory starts to return but past events, names of school friends and certain events may come back into memory.  As they continue to recover, events and faces may become more consistent memories.  Memories or details may take a long time for the survivor to remember on a consistent level.  The inconsistency can be very confusing to you as a caregiver or a family member.  This is where the term “swiss cheese memory comes from”.  Just like swiss cheese, there may be a lot of holes in the memory of a traumatic brain injury survivor.

Information Falls Through the Holes

Another way to look at it would be for information to “fall through the holes”.  Your loved one may remember something one time but when asked about it a week or even a day later they have no memory of what you are talking about. Thus, the information fell through the holes of a “swiss cheese memory”.  It may be very frustrating but most survivors continue to improve where their memory is concerned. Recovery from traumatic brain injury can be a very long and drawn out process.  The the right rehabilitation most brain injury survivors prosper and some eventually fully recover so always let there be hope.

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by Attorney Gordon Johnson