a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Memory


The older I get the more I forget, LOL. I used to be able to keep a grocery list in my head of what I need. Now I have to write down what we need and then I still end up forgetting things. I used to be able to hear a phone number one time and remember it for a very long time.

I am concerned about losing my memory as I age. I wonder if I will get dementia. If I had a choice between a painful physical condition or losing my memory, I would take the painful physical condition over losing my memory. My mom was sharp as a tack as she aged until her final week of life when the morphine made her a bit confused. Hubby's mom suffered from dementia and while she always recognized her loved ones, she often wasn't oriented to where she was at the time, thinking she was in a different town or a different year.

I type reports of patients who aren't a reliable historian as the doctors like to say. It saddens me to type those words because you know at one time of their lives they were more than likely very sharp, intelligent in their fields of knowledge, yet the illness robbed them of that.

I saw the frustration in hubby's dad's dealing with his wife's dementia. He was always apologizing that she was confused, he was constantly reminding her of this fact or that fact if she wasn't in the present time with her thoughts and words.

Losing my memory does concern me. I actually asked God to allow me to keep it.

I know some people say playing games, stimulating the mind is a good thing. Or not eating this or eating that. I don't know. What I do know though is my mom played games, word games, word searches, card games, etc. Hubby's mom rarely did. Is there a correlation? I doubt it. But interesting.

I practice too the answers to the mini mental status exam doctors give patients to see how they are doing with their memory. Its a series of 30 questions, seeing if they are oriented to time, place, person, if they can perform certain tasks.

Like spelling "world" backwards. I practice that a lot "d-l-r-o-w". Or subtracting serial 7s from 100, 93, 86, 79, 72, 65 and so on. Drawing a clock face. Given three objects to remember, say "pen", "clock" "orange" and seeing if you can recall them five minutes later. And other questions.

Then I wonder, will I know that I'm losing my memory? Am I losing my memory now and I just don't know it? Am I repeating stories I just told? So far I haven't gotten lost anywhere or left the stove on when I wasn't cooking something (but I have forgotten I had something cooking on the stove when I was in the other room working, but it never burned, I did remember it eventually).  I go into a room with an intent to get something and then forget what it was.

I just hope I keep my memory as I age.  Am I the only one concerned about this?


25 comments:

Linda B. said...

I think most over 50 can identify with this and will have same concern! Thanks for the extra memory games to practice. Have a wonderfilled weekend!

Chatty Crone said...

Absolutely not - you have written just about everything I feel! I am concerned - I used to be sharp as a tack. Most people say no - it is just aging - but aging is not for sissies! Phew. I never thought about asking God direct to keep my memory. I have asked him when I die - if I could just die - fast - but this is another good prayer. I think God will do His will and what He thinks best for us. Life is a journey about learning about Him. sandie

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Losing my memory is only a concern because of how it would affect those around me. Otherwise I guess it's not a problem as I wouldn't remember what I'd lost. It is very hard on family and friends when the one they love doesn't remember them or much of anything else.
Getting older is not for sissies for sure! So far so good here!

Lynn Proctor said...

my mom passed away in august from alzheimers---she knew at times in the first few years, that something was wrong with her memory---i have always had a hard time spelling words backwards---i have to go through the alphabet just to know what letter we are on for the blogs---but i really don't worry about getting what my mother had---and i am sure the things that you describe are very typical of just getting older--great post

Shannon W. said...

I am the same way. The older I get the more things I forget. It really frustrates me when I forget things like where I parked my Jeep or if I did or did not do certain things. I drive myself into a panic attack sometimes!

Nel said...

Very good post! I too am like you it is always in the back of my mind especially when I forget something. My dad had dimentia, and his mom had it, so yep the thoughts are always there. I have always heard the worse thing you can do is worry about it. I try to keep the mind working and active I think that does help.
until next time... nel

Shelly said...

I just turned 50 and I hear you. I'm doing all kinds of little mental exercises and eating very healthy to help my little old brain as I age.

JosephAlsarraf said...

My family is the same way both my mom and my dad's families have good memories. My little sister always asks me things about when events took place because she has a hard time remembering them. Just recently though I was trying to remember something and I trouble remembering it. She then said that I don't have a good memory. Maybe i'm already losing mine, i'm only 22! : )

Rita said...

You most certainly aren't the only one! Both my grandmothers had memory loss. My mother's mother was pretty forgetful, but my dad's mother eventually had no short or long terms memory and was like a toddler! Of course she lived to be 104. I already have the constant pain and disability and all so early--so I REALLY worry about forgetting things already at 61. Words escape me that I have known all my life. Forgetting why I went in a room. Details getting confused. Scary to me. Really scary! You are not alone.

Betty WSch. said...

You know you are not alone! My grandmother was sharp as a wit even on her death bed and my mom....well you know about her. And she's only 72. It all started in the late 60's. I pray I will be spared that too, it is one of the worst sickness I can imagine!

Michelle said...

I don't think you need to worry. Don't you think that most of the reason we forget things is just because we just have too many darned things to think about? We have so many responsibilities, and then we have lists of things we want to do, or need to do, and we just don't have enough hours in the day. We try to cram too many things into one day. We are trying to live life to the fullest. We don't have enough 'down'time, or relaxing time. Always something to do.

I do believe that the more you keep busy, either reading, or learning new things, the better we will be. Our minds need the stimulation of learning new things, and about getting excited about new things. If we just get to the point where we just get into a routine and nothing is new, that is when we lose our focus.

Now me? If you told me three things and asked me again in one minute, I probably couldn't tell you, so when you give me the test, just tell me 'chocolate, chocolate, chocolate' and I think I could remember that!!!!

Don't waste your time worrying. Enjoy life!

Deanna said...

Losing my memory is my number one fear. It doesn't help to have watched my mom and Jim's mom both with Alzheimer's. So devastating. Now that I am looking 60 straight in the eye, I dwell on it more. Sometimes when I drive home, I forget to turn onto our road. But then I've always done that. I get lost in thought... One day I turned the water on in the kitchen sink and left it running. I've forgotten so many things! But, I don't know... I can't live in fear. I do believe keeping the mind active is key. The old if you don't use it, you lose it saying comes to mind.

Now, quit worrying! It doesn't help a thing!

Funny in My Mind said...

I am 42 and find myself repeating this phrase: "I think I've told this story to you before but...." and have to leave the room and go back to retrace my steps because I forget what I am doing. I try to do the USA Today crossword a few times a week but I feel like have still lost some of my memory over the years

Shelley said...

It is frightening to think of -I like to do mental stimulation exercises too. But I suppose only time will tell.

Martha said...

I don't know Betty. After having both of my parents die knowing exactly what was happening was so painful both to them and to me.

I have always thought our vision, hearing and memories start to dull for a reason, to relieve us from the pain as we age.

I would never want my children to have to suffer from the result of my aging, but at the same time I don't think I want to be as sharp as a tack when my time comes.

Maybe that's a sissy view but I think I would rather just move on when my time comes without knowing and have to accept that it's time to leave my loved ones here on earth. Does that make sense?

Mary said...

When I worked in a nursing home. I said that if I have to have something when I get old I hoped it would be dementia because they aren't aware of what's going on. I read somewhere that if you forgot where your keys are., that's normal. If you forget what you do with keys, then you have a problem.

TARYTERRE said...

You bring up a valid topic. I do worry about losing my mind. My grandpa died from BRAIN cancer. And he couldn't control his thinking. My husband is scared to death of his memory being lost. His mother had dementia. I have cared for patients with Alzheimers who were in their late 40's and 50's. It's debilitating for sure. So sad. I think it's GREAT you keep your mind active with those tests. I do WORD FIND PUZZLE BOOKS and read, myself. Otherwise I pray my mind stays intact. I have mobility issues and it's more than enough to deal with. take care.

Jeanie said...

You are far from alone in this concern, Betty. I think the scariest thing to think about is the time when people are aware enough to know that they are beginning to experience some kind of dementia. There is a very good book called "The 36 Hour Day", a family guide to caring for people with dementia.

Sharon said...

Oh goodness, Betty - you have captured so well the fear of many of us...ahem...more mature adults! I can tell that my mind isn't quite as sharp as it was ten years ago, even five years ago, and that kinda scares me. I hate that the menopause seemed to take some brain cells with it.

But, I also try to keep my mind busy. I find great delight in playing Jeopardy, doing crossword puzzles, and believe it or not, blogging keeps me on my toes, too.

I saw a bumper sticker once: "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."

I hope that never becomes true. I don't want people to have to remind me all the time that...

...oh, what was I going to say?? I FORGET!! (LOL)

xo

Kathleen Moulton said...

I agree with Michelle. Life is too fast-paced. I think that has alot to do with the 50+ group forgetting things!

Kathy

Intense Guy said...

I've always been a "little absentminded"... my nickname was Fuzzy.

Even in Junior High, I couldn't remember the day of the week.

My parents do Sudoku and Crosswords religiously. Don't know if its working... :(

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I always make lists but I forget them at home! I only know a few phone numbers by heart but nothing since I got a cell phone. The only dementia on both side of my family come way up in the late 80's. My husbands side too. I do worry about my memory. For me I have never had a great memory so it hasn't changed yet. My fear right now is my dad losing his and not knowing who I am. I feel really bad for those people who get alzheimer's at a young age. I never thought of practicing or spelling words backwards!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Actually an aunt on my husbands side can't remember anything past 5 minutes or so it seems. She is super happy in her head which for her is actually a good thing since she has a son who could care less about her.

Toriz said...

If it makes you feel any better, I have a great memory, but even I sometimes do scatter-brained things like forgetting I was doing something because I got busy doing something else (like almost burning food because I forgot it was cooking). I think you're good so far! :)

Veronica B. said...

I worry about it all the time... especially when I am at a loss for a word or can't remember something I've tried to commit to memory. Keeping active and challenged is the best way to keep your memory. Do something new like changing the hand you eat with challenges the brain and helps as well.