Is this forgetfulness only, or worse? This thought crossed my mind many times when I was about 60. That was 15 years ago. Thankfully it is still just forgetfulness.
Can we tell the difference?
I found the answers by watching people. An infographic from Institute on Aging reiterates the differences. Click on this link for more information: https://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/forgetfulness-infographic-508.pdf
Sharing 5 frequent examples in my lived experience
- Where I parked my car
- Person’s name who was just introduced to me
- The way to a place if it is less travelled
- What I ate for dinner two days ago
- Missing appointments once a while (getting more frequent).
The worst forgetfulness event in my life
An event took place in the mid-1990s that shook my confidence about my ability to remember. The task from my colleague KC Lun, was to fetch his Japanese colleague to Changi Airport at the conclusion of a farewell lunch that I was invited to as well.
I replied, “Sure, sure”. And just then, I wondered where did I park my car — UOB Plaza 1 or UOB PLaza 2? What followed was the worst day of my whole life! My Japanese acquaintance was getting more unsettled by the minute. Eventually, I found my car. When we reached Changi Airport, he grabbed his bags and just rushed out. A bad parting: my fault, for sure.
So, I questioned myself about dementia. It cannot be dementia, I concluded. Today, my brain is still serving me, although with more aberrations.
What to do?
In the school of experience, I learned a few memory tips directly; the rest I learned from others.
Memory tip 1 – Note where you park your car
Note the floor, lot number, and the animal or colour on the columns (if any). If possible park near a big landmark e.g., the lift (also note the lift number e.g, PL2).
Memory tip 2 – Use the name of person introduced
My sister-in-law shared this with me. Make it a point to remember the person’s name correctly by repeating it: “You are Evelyn. Nice to get to know you, Evelyn.” And make it a point to use the name in your conversation: “So what do you think, Evelyn?”
Memory tip 3 – Find the way to a place beforehand.
Useful if you have not been to the place for some months or years.
Memory tip 4 – Remember what you ate for dinner two days ago
I think this is good memory training. I try to do that these days, and I cross-check with my wife. Is remembering what you ate a problem too?
Memory tip 5 – Keep a schedule of your appointments
This may become necessary to make sure you are on top of things.
Take home messages
Forgetting is not dementia. We can develop solutions to help ourselves. Do that.
Thanks to Arina for the Unsplash picture of forget-me-not. Thanks to all, who helped me to discover that forgetfulness is normal; Hopefully you did not suffer too much from my forgetfulness.