Aging Myths And Memory
A lady said to me recently, "I can remember one day in 1942 coming home from school and putting my brown leather schoolbag on the kitchen table but I can't remember where I left my handbag when I came back from shopping this morning?"
Does this sound familiar? Fortunately we can laugh at these things most times. Another lady said to me "I must be getting older I fell asleep in the middle of The Bold and the Beautiful, but I think I just nodded off"
I said, "That's no excuse you could still have missed one of Brooke's weddings" (Brooke being the character who's always getting married).
There are some funny stories about aging and memory. A great one I have heard is about two older men talking on the phone about the problems with aging.
Jim said to Fred; "You know Fred this aging caper has nothing to recommend it.
"You're right" said Fred "there are so many things that you can do when you're young that you can't do when your old. My biggest problem is my memory, I've forgotten so many things lately that I cant remember half of them".
Jim replied "I know exactly what you mean Fred but I was lucky I found a great memory course and it really helped me, it taught me how to use different methods to remember things by associating names with other names and ideas with other ideas to jog my memory and now I can almost remember anything"
Fred said, "That sounds fantastic Jim, what was the name of the course?"
Jim paused for a moment trying to remember, glanced over at his wife quizzically and then turned back to Fred on the phone and said, "Fred, you know that flower I have in my front garden? It has a beautiful red petals on it and a stem with very sharp thorns. What's it called?"
"Ah yes" says Fred "that's the rose".
Relieved, Jim turned back to his wife and said "Rose what was the name of that memory course that I did??!!"
As they say, "You have to see the funny side of it otherwise it gets you down".
I find myself in the middle of a sentence and realize I cannot think of the next word I am going to say and its usually a really important word that is absolutely essential to the meaning of the entire sentence.
I've also found that someone can throw me right off balance if they say to me something like "I can never remember that persons name. I think its Jane or Janice or something like that?" At that stage my memory would be completely confused and I could not remember it either.
I have a feeling that it's not a memory problem at that time, it's a case of being fearful that I'm going to forget it too and so I can't remember it either :-)
That's the great thing about sitting down and writing. You can encounter all these problems and gradually solve them in your own good time and nobody ever knows, that's our little secret!
Do you talk much about this type of problem to other people?
Even though I can joke about it I still secretly find it a bit frightening and a little embarrassing.
I spoke to my doctor about it and I touched timidly on the Dementia and Alzheimer area.
He said that he wasn't an expert in that field but his understanding of it was; "As long as you can remember that sometimes you can't remember, it's alright". Being Irish I understood that perfectly!
I just said, "thank you Doctor I'll 'remember' that".
There are lots of things that we can do and I can share lots of ideas and methods that I use. There are also some great exercises and activities that can be used that are amazingly helpful, and if you sign up to my newsletter I'll tell you what these are.
You know we can age really positively if we attack this in a sensible way without demanding too much of ourselves and enjoying the process with humor, empathy and understanding.
There is so much fun to be had on this journey it's actually a whole new beginning.