The Tragedy of Memory Loss

May 6, 2012 by

Writing this blog has made me realise the importance of memory. Like other senses, it is something we take for granted – until we lose it.   Seeing someone you love lose their memory is a very scary thing.  Almost overnight I have seen my father change from being the human equivalent of a Sat Nav into someone who can’t remember the geography of Ireland.  When he goes somewhere out of his own environment he is disorientated and confused.  He now relies on my mother fully and follows her around like a small child, getting distressed if he loses sight of her for a second.

They say that Alzheimer’s deletes short-term memory and that long-term memory is not affected.  In my father’s case this is true up to a point.  He tells us the same stories from the past over and over again but yet he would have difficulty remembering what he had for lunch.  My early memory is terrible and my sisters are always surprised when I say I don’t remember things they do.  However, I was blessed with a photographic memory at school.  Something that often got me into trouble.  Seeing my father’s memory deteriorate has shocked me into trying to remember the past.  

Apparently memory is like a muscle that needs a work out.  Challenging your brain and your memory keeps it fit and active.  My mother is a great believer in this and regularly does crosswords and reads through her school poetry that she had to memorise as a schoolgirl.  She amazes me when she can still recite verbatim a Shakespeare sonnet learned probably 60 years ago.

I have found that writing has definitely improved my memory.  I wish I had paid more attention in school to grammar and punctuation or maybe I did and can’t remember it.  I robbed my mother’s copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and have learned so much from it. But I have a long way to go.

This is the real “Raison d’être” for my blog.  Invariably, I have found that the memories I find easiest to recall are food-related.

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  1. Anonymous

    My mom had it and I know how you feel! I am always reading the latest studies on a cure and progress is being made…… but 100% success has not yet been achieved…
    There is a test which one can do now to detect if one is at risk later on for this dementia….

  2. Alzheimers is a very sad disease, my late Father-in-Law had it. He very quick-witted and intelligent man, who liked nothing better than challenging me to finishing crosswords. Terrible for the sufferer, and those around them.

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