I’ll Remember That…

As I gained more years of experience, I noticed my short-term memory was becoming less reliable. It started with getting up to go to another room, then forgetting what I went there for.

At first, I dismissed the forgetfulness, as not everything is due to growing older. Sometimes, things just happen. Unfortunately, the more it happened, the more I had to accept that my memory was not what it used to be.

Increasingly, I would go downstairs to the basement for something, cross the threshold and go completely blank as to why I was there.

I had to adapt. I accepted that things would not return to the normal I wanted. How could I adjust?

I’ve tried a few things. Some worked, some didn’t, But I improved my new normal.

When I got up to get something, I stopped. Then, I very consciously recalled what It was I was going for. I visualized my walk to the specific drawer if I knew the location. Only then did I head out on my quest. The hardest part was remembering to stop and visualize!

Another change I made was not to give up too easily to remember why I was at the bottom of the stairs. I’d stand quietly and think through what I had been doing or looking at before heading to the basement. That worked about 50% of the time, so it was worth that pause for me.

Another thing I try to do is when I hear myself say, ‘I’ll remember that…”, I remind myself that I won’t, give in gracefully, and write a note to myself. A variation is when I put something down that I’ll need in the next hour or so, and I’ll make sure I put it on a high-contrast background. My cell phone is dark, so I never put it on the dark walnut table. I’ll never ‘see’ it when I forget where I put it. I always put it on something light, such as paper. Then, when I look for it, I’ll accidentally find it. That guide-rail has been most helpful for me.

Please give this a bit of a think. What are the adaptive strategies you’ve used to help as you gain more years of life experience? Was it a one-off strategy, or is it something you use repeatedly? Do you have moments when you wish you had a plan to help reduce the frequency or general impact of forgetting?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “I’ll Remember That…

  1. Patti+Dolman says:

    Oh the forgetting what I came down here for is a classic but the strategy that I’ve been using for awhile now is working.
    Before I take one step downstairs I say
    out loud, “ I’m going to the cold pantry to get a tin of tuna and a jar of mayonnaise.” I must say, it hasn’t failed me so far.

  2. Gail Benshabat says:

    Almost twenty years ago I read a book written by Norman Doidge called The Brain That Changes Itself. The book talks about how the neuroplasticity of the brain can change by doing simple “brain exercises.” I was intrigued. Doidge basically said that you can’t let the brain get lazy. You have to keep learning new things in order to stave off memory loss in old age. The concept of improving cognition as we age stuck in my memory. I slowly started to make small changes because it all made sense to me. We can rewire our brains if we put in the effort.

    I made a conscious effort to keep learning new things. I gave up my car so that I could be more physical. My sleeping and eating habits changed. I sleep longer and eat foods that improve good brain functioning. The results were subtle at first but now I notice that I have considerably less “brain fog” or lack of focus.

    Now that I’m pushing 70, I’m just as mindful as ever to keep this regimen going. As far as forgetting things, that’s gotten better too! I keep my keys, cellphone and glasses in one place on a bureau. It works every time! Do I open up a cupboard and ask myself what an I looking for? Of course. Sometimes (if I remember lol) I will pause before going to another room, to the fridge or cupboard and say the name of the object in my head. It’s the only way that works. – if I remember to do it! Lol

    I like your tip about placing your cellphone on a lighter surface. That’s a good idea.

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