Look to Circumstances For the Causes of Memory Lapses

Leah Health Guide
  • When one has dementia, it is easy to immediately blame it for any increased memory lapses. One should not be so quick to point the finger in that direction...


    Spring is just around the corner, and I have put away all my winter clothing. While changing wardrobes, I discovered some surprises. In the back of my closet, I found a lightweight rain-type coat. Note: I've been looking online for almost a year for just such a raincoat and couldn't find what I wanted...WHEN did I buy this coat? WHERE did I buy this coat? HOW LONG have I had this coat? My mind is totally blank... I put it on and it fits perfectly-just had to brush off the dust which had accumulated along the top area above the hanger. Now, I can stop looking for a spring-type coat! I've got one. As a matter of fact, it was a rainy day when I wore it to the hair salon. An attendant hung my coat up for me. I didn't see where she had taken it. When it came time to get my coat, I had a hard time figuring out which was mine. Finally, I looked at sizes and found it that way.

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    Another surprise during this seasonal clothing switch came in the form of a blue leather purse. The tag was still on it. Wow. A new purse!!! Isn't dementia grand? Any day can be like your birthday, without the cake! A new purse. A new coat. What else could I find? Gold? Diamonds? (A girl can dream, can't she?)


    If that wasn't enough, what else do I find but three pair of earrings in a bag. The receipt says I bought them around Christmas from a nearby department store. Why hadn't I taken them from their display cards and put them away? I could have been using them! By this time, in spite of the joy of finding these "gifts", I began to doubt myself. I began to worry about my dementia worsening. And then, I was struck by the date on the receipt. Happily, I believe the mystery is solved and I am not regressing...


    The date on the receipt was one in December, 2009. Thinking back, the months of November and December were quite busy and full of emotional ups and downs. Bill and I went on a twelve day cruise in November through early December. While on the cruise, my dad got sick. Once we got home, we divided our time between visiting my dad and shopping for Christmas. That time is a blur. Then Dad died on Christmas. I don't remember anything much after that...


    So, is my memory worse? Yes. Is it because of dementia? I don't think so; I think it is because of my grief and anxiety. I expect that the jacket and purse were bought probably just before the cruise. The earrings were probably gotten at a pre-Christmas sale. With all the mental anguish these past three months, my mind has only been able to assimilate so much.


    My point is, look past dementia to find a cause of memory loss or lapses. Don't jump to the conclusion that the dementia is worsening. If you are a caregiver, help your loved one through the process of discovering the cause of the lapse. Encourage your loved one, don't discourage him/her. Laugh about it, if you can, just as I have. When I found these items, I celebrated!!!



Published On: March 16, 2010