Cognition is defined as the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. If your cognition is affected after a stroke, then you could find it difficult to concentrate or remember certain things.
We store all kinds of information in our memory. We also remember things for different lengths of time, which is why we have a short-term and a long-term memory. Your short-term memory is like a temporary storehouse for information. It allows you to remember things just long enough for you to use them. When you read a telephone number, for example, you use your short term memory to remember it for the few seconds it takes you to dial. Some people also call this your working memory. If you need to remember something for longer than this, it moves to your long-term memory.
Many people have problems with their memory after a stroke, especially in the first weeks and months. However, they may not always be down to a problem with your memory itself. Most memory problems are actually caused by problems with concentration, because if you’re unable to focus on what you’re being told, you’re not going to be able to remember it later. So if you’re having problems with your memory, you should think about ways to improve your concentration as well.
If your short-term memory has been affected, you may find it difficult to remember:
• what someone just said to you
• what you were about to do.
• important dates or when you’ve got an appointment
• where you’ve put something
• someone’s name or what they told you last time you met.
Cognitive problems are usually worst during the first few months after a stroke, but they can and do get better. They’re likely to improve very quickly over the first three months, as this is when your brain is at its most active, trying to repair itself.