Apr 11th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Senior Forgetfulness Issues

In the very middle of what seems like a stimulating and provocative conversation, a thought occurs.  Someone else, however, is speaking.  By the time they finish, the thought is lost, gone, completely off the screen. Someone says, “Jerry, you had something to add?” ”No,”comes the reply. ”It doesn’t matter now.”

Refusing to admit that the thought has flown, some clumsy excuse or embarrassing admission of its loss is about all one can do.  When that experience becomes more frequent and the forgotten idea or comment occurs more frequently, one becomes aware that it is time to acquire another strategy or choose to participate less in  conversational interchange.  The latter is likely to be noticed, particularly if you have been known to be an active and astute participant.  When one retreats to less and less contributions, others may pick up the slack, without noticing.  Someone, however, may eventually call attention to your reticence and invite you to rejoin the banter.

Or someone, recognizing what has happened, may quickly come to rescue the flow of the conversation and move in with a highly appropriate remark to push it forward.

Coping With Forgetfulness

Meanwhile, you are left with  being taken aback by your uncharacteristic inability to participate in the dialog.  What now?  When these episodes seem to occur more and more frequently, where do you turn? When you find you are calling on your mate to rescue you by helping with a name or a date or a recollection of an event, how do you cover for your own deficiency?

Calling attention to your forgetfulness can be employed a few times, but doing so often will simply emphasize the behavior.  Finding avenues of retreat or attempting a somewhat relevant detour may work, if you are up to it. If not, mumbling an incoherent comment certainly is not worthy of your own dignity.  In the end, a simple, “I forgot (fill in the blank)…” may be the best solution.

Forgetting names is quite common as we age. Using ploys to help persons help you remember their name or another’s usually will get you by.  The other evening, when encountering someone whose name I thought I knew, I referred to her by what I thought was the correct name.  It came to me later and too late, that I had been completely in error.  The only escape from such a glaring faux pas will be to try to make light of it, somehow, when next I encounter her.  At least, in this case, I recognized my fumble.

Working at being more alert, astute and staying as sharp as possible may be a growing challenge.  Recognizing signs of dementia, let’s not at the moment go beyond that, may enable honing one’s sensitivity to one’s own inclination to being forgetful. Becoming a recluse to accomplish your goal is not a desirable strategy.  Soliciting aid from your mate or close friends may turn it into a game or an exercise that may end up being enjoyable and quite helpful.

Engaging in memory exercises may contribute to sharpening your memory and to feeling more confident when in conversational situations. By all means, don’t surrender to the tendency and likelihood that some memory issues will occur.  Managing the immediate situation and moving on with the discussion may help you discover you still have the power to be in the middle of such occasions without embarrassment.

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