Using a memory handbook to improve everyday memory in community-dwelling older adults with memory complaints Academic Article uri icon


  • Community-dwelling, nondemented older people (60-70 years) with reported memory complaints were randomly assigned to either a memory-handbook (MHB) group (n = 20) or a placebo group (n = 20). The MHB group members were given a self-contained memory handbook and were individually trained on two of the handbook's sections that related to (a) remembering a person's name and (b) prospective memory, for approximately 30 minutes each. The placebo group was given an instructional pamphlet with a description of three list-learning mnemonics as a placebo treatment. Subjects were tested before and after the intervention. When compared with the placebo group, the MHB group members significantly improved their performance on a face-naming task and a strategies knowledge questionnaire, but not on the prospective memory measures, when compared with the placebo group. In addition, the MHB group showed a significant advantage on an everyday memory diary that was filled out by all subjects following the intervention. Following the study, the placebo group was also given the memory handbook, and both groups were then assessed on their knowledge and use of strategies by questionnaire at a 4-month follow-up. At this time the MHB group appeared to maintain most of its original gains, while the placebo group made some improvement.

publication date

  • July 1996