Read a book. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Not to a dementia sufferer… Even in the early stage, it is difficult for me to remember what I have read once I put the book down or my attention is drawn away from it. With medication, I am better able to focus as I read. Medication allows me to stay on task…read for longer periods of time. Still I have the problem of remembering…so what do I do?
I take notes…brief words describing the topic or main idea or important details… I write these notes anywhere on the page I can. (Don’t try this with a library book) At the end of the chapter, I write a brief summary (a sentence, maybe) telling how it ends. The next time I pick up the book, I skim through the notes to catch up; then I continue on to the next chapter. There are even times when I cross reference something so that I can refresh my memory later.
Now, there are some folk out there who might think that this is all too much work. I don’t see it that way. Granted, it takes longer. However, one of my passions has always been reading. During the 34 years I taught, I rarely had the free time to read casually. Since my retirement three years ago, I have tried to read all that I could to make up for it. I got very frustrated when I began to lose the ability to sit and read and to remember what I read. Now, with my diagnosis, I understand the reason for my difficulties. Now, with medication, I am beginning to get back to reading for fun–even if it means taking notes as I do it.