I forget things! And, sometimes, if I'm honest, it scares me a little.
Is this the onset of something more serious? Is it time to see a doctor? Am I losing it?
And, I notice in my conversations with friends and co-workers, I'm not the only one forgetting things! Nor am I the only one worrying about it! So, I thought I'd do a little homework on this subject and here is what I found:
Deborah Bier, PhD wrote “Seven Signs that You're Just Fine” on Psych Central.com. Here is an abbreviated version of her noteworthy list.
1) You remember something later that you forgot in the moment.
2) Reminders are helpful. When you read a note you wrote yourself, it is usually meaningful.
3) Tools help you remember. Keeping a calendar, writing reminder notes, putting items in the same place, are all ways that help you remember what you need to do and where things are.
4) You forget things once or twice. Now this one is a little tricky, but the key is that if you remember sometimes, or most of the time, forgetfulness is probably not serious. It is when you can't remember, even with cues and reminders that it may be time to see the doctor.
5) You forget during times of high stress/high anxiety or sleeplessness. Dr. Bier says that “Fatigue and stress are great memory stealers.” You can anticipate a reduced memory capacity when you're tired or stressed.
6) If you're still acting like yourself, but just frustrated by forgetting things, you are probably just experiencing the forgetfulness that seems to accompany aging. I certainly don't like the idea that forgetfulness is a natural part of the aging process, but I know it to be true.
7) Finally, taking care of yourself. As long as you're still showering, dressing, and eating, and otherwise caring for yourself; any forgetfulness you are experiencing is probably normal.
It does not come as much consolation to me that my memory is one more arena in my life that is changing whether I'm ready or not! “Understanding normal forgetfulness can help us more gracefully adjust to the challenges of healthy aging.” says Dr. Bier.
Well, living gracefully is very appealing to me, but I for one am not going down without a fight!
Don't try to change everything, but start doing some things to help yourself today. Some forgetfulness is a normal part of the second half of life for most of us. I'm learning to laugh about it, deal with it, and slow the progress down with meaningful activities that help keep my mind sharp. But, I'm going to try and stop worrying about what I can't change and celebrate all the benefits that this time in life offers!