The other day a good friend told me; “Get yourself together, Jill. You have holes in your head.’ This was after I double-dated without thinking straight and had to put her off twice even though I love getting together with her. Well, her comments were in place and got me thinking and for that I am grateful to her. One can only say what she said to a good friend.
As I get older, I do tend to forget things, but lately, I have been on overload; nobody’s fault except my own, of course. I simply do not know how to say no and never know when it is enough! I am more of a doer than a thinker and as a result, I have joined a philosophy class where I am gleaning a ton of information and will hopefully learn to use my head more than my heart. The problem is how to internalize the material learned of course, but I have not done too badly to date although I know that I still have a long way to go.
It’s harder for me to remember things now than it was in my youth. I sometimes feel disoriented when driving at night so pull out my waze (my smartphone app, my GPS) and it always takes me faithfully in the right direction. There have been times when I have had to run through the whole alphabet in order to remember a word and forget where I have put my keys. To sum up, I think that doing these things can be described as normal age forgetfulness.
Then I remember how many things I manage to achieve in one day. I post a daily blog, check my mails and reply to them all. I write more blogs later in the day which I post as drafts for future use, as well as work on my other writing projects. I do voluntary work in the mental health field, help my daughter by babysitting for my three lovely grandchildren as well as my grand-dog. I work in my garden which produces new weeds as soon as I pull out the existing ones, plant and prune, attend Latin American Dancing classes twice a week for just under an hour each time, attend a practical philosophy course once a week, as well as a crossword puzzle group where we sharpen our thinking skills by seeing who does the tasks provided fastest. I love being part of the audience at philharmonic concerts and listen to opera as well as find time for friends and go on the odd organized tour.
Because my husband suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I think it’s natural for me to ask myself; ‘could the fact that I forget arrangements in spite of having them written in my diary, be the beginning of this disease?’ Could mislaying my phone or my keys be other signs? But, if I had Alzheimer’s, I would probably not know what the keys were for and would probably not know how to use either the keys or the phone.
But, if I notice any of the following, that affect my daily life, I will talk to my doctor.
- Forget events that happened recently.
- Find it hard to do daily tasks like cooking or laundry.
- Often have difficulty forming sentences and/or remembering words .
- Start feeling disoriented on a regular basis.
- Misplace things and then discover them in strange places where they don’t belong.
- If my family tells me that my behavior has changed.
- If my moods change more quickly than they used to.
- If my personality changes – like feeling withdrawn, suspicious, fearful or confused.
- If I stop doing the things I used to enjoy.