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I have been a caregiver for seniors with Alzheimer's/Dementia for 50 of my 72 years. I'm now retired. But, it seems like I'm doing some of the things my clients did, like minor forgetfulness, or "where did I put that?" Small things to be sure, but it's driving me up the wall. So, I'm wondering if any caregivers out there have noticed these in themselves, or is it just in my mind? Doesn't happen daily, but maybe a couple of days every month or so. I stay very active, volunteer at several different resident's homes, on occasion, just to help out, if needed. But is all this just in my mind? Are there any of you dealing with this, now that you've reached a certain age? Please share your experiences. I need reassurance. Or am I just "getting old?"

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I think there's a factor that no one has mentioned in the articles analyzing aging.   We have a lot more to remember as we age; we accumulate new information regularly, or are at least exposed to it. I know that I've certainly been exposed to a lot more information since my teens, 20s, and even up into my 40s, and whenever I took a class after that (I still took classes up until I was 48, and would take more now if I could get a good senior discount.)

Our personal "memory banks" are a lot more full than they were when we were young.  And I think data accumulation has accelerated since the advent of computers, then more tech devices.    I've also thought that tech information requires a different form of learning; it's not the same kind of base as history, or geology, or even math...at least for me.  

Today was a really forgetful day; I forgot what I wanted to do just by leaving the room.  So I had to take a break, and redirect my thoughts.    I also find that a bit of exercise helps clear the brain.  And music is also very helpful, and therapeutic.  

I just need to do "a bit" more; last year was kind of a sedentary year in brain and body, with the former focusing more on worrying than creative thinking.  

And that's another issue:   stress and worrying.   I've not read anything about its interference with memory, but I'm positive it does compromise learning and memory.   And for the last year there's been so much coping required, redirecting our positive energy to more basic survival modes.
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DILKimba Jan 9, 2021
Excellent response!
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OK. Stop worrying. I am 78, so I know worrying. Here are some things to be aware of. Normal aging of the brain make some things more difficult. NORMALLY more difficult. We get more anxious and we have more trouble retaining things when we are anxious. We cannot "Multitask" anymore.
That is to say we cannot be in the grocery checkout, unloading our things, trying to remember what we forgot to get and where's the Safeway card, and also answer a phone call from Auntie Mame.
There is the forgetfulness. I was supposed to be there. It was on the calendar and I forgot to look. Did I actually tell Joel I wouldn't be there, or just want to REMEMBER to tell Joel? And on and on.
We will forget where we put the keys (if they are misplaced someplace normal that's OK, but if they are in the freezer that's not as good).
If you are worried, get a test. I think you will be reassured. Tell your doc "I want a baseline here."
Generally there are some things to note. If you tried to "put something someplace safe" and then forgot where you put it? Normal. If you put it in the ice cream in the freezer? Not normal.
I am 78 and partner is 80. We are noticing the changes daily now and laughing about them. The problems come when you aren't laughing and you are in denial that they are happening, and your kids are telling you, and you are denying it.
Try to relax about this. Aging is a process. Time passes more quickly. Every Tuesday is garbage can day, by why is every Tuesday now every 15 minutes?
Yes, at 78 and 80 my partner and I are noticing the changes so much, and I won't repeat the "shoe story" I posted today for you. But it's scary! When you notice it, it isn't much to worry over. When you DON'T notice it, or-worse-- deny it, then you could be heading into trouble.
Scary, isn't it? We certainly are quaking in OUR boots!
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Sendhelp Jan 5, 2021
Ok, my keys are not in the freezer yet!
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These are all spot on answers and I can relate as I swear I do stupid stuff more after a visit with my 98 year old Dad lol

I do have mild ADD & OCD ( which means I like everything perfect... but not for long)! I’m always doing 50 things at once and obviously many times i misplace something because of that.

I just turned 70 and attribute some to brain farts that come with being older and sometimes wiser. Though I’ve noticed this in people of all ages lately...like the teen check out clerk who asked me twice if I gave him my rewards card and my granddaughter who is always misplacing her phone, even though she’s always on it! I think we’re all just distracted by the current medical and political climate and overwhelmed by our worlds turned upside down!

I know when I go into a room & forget what I came in for, I stop and mentally re-trace my steps and then it comes to me. That’s the difference between me and what my Dad is experiencing, as he doesn’t have the cognitive ability to do that any longer.

Just remember Betty White’s answer when interviewed and asked how she keeps in such good shape, “I live in a two story house and have a bad memory.”
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NobodyGetsIt Jan 9, 2021
"lamm811,"

You've made some very good points and I've noticed the same thing about younger people. When I actually do get to go somewhere and I'm talking with clerks or tellers, I've noticed that a lot of them say they are already struggling with remembering things in their late 20's and early 30's to which I always laughingly reply that it makes me feel so much better!!!

Our world has accelerated at an extremely fast pace where generations ago, that wasn't the case. And like you said, add to that being distracted "by the current medical and political climate and overwhelmed by our worlds turned upside down!"

Our previous house of 17 years was a two-story, I noticed it wasn't until I either reached the top or the bottom of the stairs that I would forget something and ended up trudging back up or down to get it.
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I think you're extra paranoid about getting dementia or Alz. because you've been caring for people afflicted with it for so long, that's all. We ALL forget things; it comes along with age. I'm 63 and I know for a fact that my mind is not as sharp as it once was! I have to repeat something to myself a bunch of times if I expect to remember it moving forward. I was speaking to my SIL a short while ago about the same exact thing, in fact, and she's 62..............same things going on with her and it all started around 60.

Now, if you're putting your keys in the freezer or getting lost while driving home from the market you've shopped at for 20 years, THEN you should worry. Otherwise, you're just getting old like everyone else! :)
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I suspect depression could be playing a part, particularly over the past year and continuing.
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I am 86 years old. Several years ago I started feeling the same way. When I noticed changes in my Hubby, I suggested we both go get tested. It turns out, he had Alzheimer's and as my specialist told me; "What you have is normal wear and tear on the brain". I had an MRI and a PET scan with a specialized PET machine. Have the doctor show you pictures and snap a copy for yourself. That way you can look back at it for reassurance.

Sometimes, low Vitamin B-12 and Thyroid can make you forgetful. For me B-12 was like a miracle.

I recommend a good physical exam with bloodwork. Then go to a specialist and get at least an MRI.
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bolers1 Jan 9, 2021
Great stuff MaryKathleen, great stuff.
I snapped a picture of your post to look at it in the coming months as clear, condensed advice.
Thank You!
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Dear "Jazzy1349,"

Oh my gosh, no it's not all in your head. I'm 58 and my husband will be 57 soon and we both look at each other when we have these more and more frequent moments with great frustration.

When I was 50, I would laugh and tell people I was having a "junior senior" moment. Now, it's not so funny. I keep saying "I don't remember" to my husband and he keeps saying "I don't know" - what a pair! We both get very frustrated when we can't come up with a specific "word" we want to use.

I used to be an excellent speller and had been in a spelling bee in school. Now, I find it difficult to remember how to spell a lot of seemingly simple words. Also, I have always been able to drive to places all over our city, take different routes with no problem or no directions/maps. Now, it's not as easy. I know some of it is extreme stress as a caregiver but, on the other hand where does that reasoning begin and end?

What makes it scary is that my mom has Alzheimer's and knowing as her daughter, I may inherit the same disease because of genetics.

And yes, we are "getting old."
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DILKimba Jan 9, 2021
We are right there with you! and we are both 57! I chalk it up to stress and just not being as young as we used to be!
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As everyone seems to be telling you so far, your memory lapses sound more like "being 72" than being a caregiver or having dementia. How often do a LOT of us find ourselves in a room asking, "Why did I come in here?". When we don't remember, we traipse back to where we were last and to what we were doing and then we remember, "Oh, yes! I need a red magic marker.".

Some of it is that we are not paying careful attention to the task at hand, especially to routine tasks that we do almost automatically. Check on Internet sometime for "Adult ADD!'"
You'll also come across funny but familiar-sounding stories about
going through the day being constantly distracted and forgetting one thing after another.

Take things one at a time, pay attention to what you are doing, andbe a proud MONO-tasker.
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NobodyGetsIt Jan 9, 2021
"RedVanAnnie,"

I agree completely with the fact that the older we get and the more things we've done automatically, consistently and routinely, the more we aren't even "thinking" about what we're doing or about to do and it starts to "seem" like we are being forgetful when in fact we are simply are autopilot!
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I have to laugh at so many comments about putting your keys in the freezer. My former husband was always misplacing his keys. And yes, one-time 50 years ago we found them in the freezer. After that we always looked there first, even though he never put them there again. Today at 78 he is sharp as a tack mentally, even after having 2 strokes. We each live alone miles apart, and for the most part we are both home-bound. We talk two or three times a week by phone and this outside communication helps each of us with memory as we talk about family and old times. He never could remember birthdays, but I do. Many days I truly don’t know what day it is. I have to look at my computer or calendar and hope that I haven’t forgotten to do something.
Thanks to the other responses here, I have gained some reassurance that at 73 I’m just experiencing the normal aging process, but it sure can be frustrating at times.
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NobodyGetsIt Jan 9, 2021
Dear "Lamb232,"

I'm so glad to read that your former husband at the age of 78 who has endured two strokes but is as sharp as a tack mentally - that truly is something to be thankful for.

As for him never being able to remember birthdays that is extremely common if not the norm for men in general regardless of age so that isn't worrisome. Women are the ones that take that responsibility on and either remind them or don't say anything. I have to admit my husband is very good with remembering our important dates and it helps when there are some unusual dates like my mom's being on Valentine's Day - who can really forget that?! And his mom's was the day after Christmas although she passed away ten years ago this past week.
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I’m so glad we are talking about this. I know I have wondered if dementia is contagious as I’ve felt my brain getting more and more slow and foggy. Somewhere I read that your IQ will eventually be the average of the 5 people you spend most time with. Yikes! Scared me to death, with my husband being the major recipient of that time. I do not believe there is research confirming that dementia is contagious. But I agree with others — when I’m with my husband who has a dementia that makes ongoing “intelligent” conversations a thing of the past — I begin noticing my own deficits. I do (and recommend doing) brain building games. I talk with former colleagues as much as is reasonable, I multitask very ineffectively, then I collapse on the couch and let the fog gather when I should be going for a walk or bike ride, etc. I believe that once my husband’s dementia runs its course and I am no longer a full-time caregiver, I will find I’ve lost less brain function than I thought. I’m hoping!
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NobodyGetsIt Jan 9, 2021
Dear "lindabf,"

It's not contagious in the ways we think of the "contagious" definition but, it may feel that way.

My goal for this year is to do "brain games" like you mentioned. I even bought one of the small, paperback booklets last month while standing in the grocery line about how to defeat dementia --- the only problem is I don't remember where I put it (it was on the dining table but, moved it for Christmas Dinner)!

I see signs of having watched my mom do that even while I was growing up. My dad had her buy me a piece of jewelry for Christmas one year and she hid it so I wouldn't see it. Christmas Eve came when we opened our gifts. After the last gift was opened, he noticed I hadn't opened his and asked my mom where is the gift I had you buy? She had no idea where it was - he was mad for quite awhile. He died in 2004 and when I moved her to an ALF in 2015 and had to clear out her house, I thought I would eventually find it - I never did or maybe it was something I thought was her own jewelry since it probably never even was wrapped. Makes me wonder if I actually have it in my own possession without even knowing it!
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