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I also have no sense of direction, but I've pretty much always been that way.


My daughter thinks I'm just a ditz or have adult ADHD, but I don't know if she is just trying to make me feel better.


When I read these forums and see just how awful dementia is and the horrible things caregivers go through, I am terrified. I get so paralyzed with fear that I check things I do multiple times. For instance, I will open the dishwasher or washing machine more than once to make sure the detergent compartments are closed. I will have my spouse check simple math for me when making change or figuring out a tip at a restaurant. I feel like I should talk less so I don't say something bizarrely wrong, like getting the wrong month or season. I'm driving myself nuts!


Articles say that if a person is concerned about his/her memory, then that is a sign that the person probably is developing cognitive problems. BTW, I am 67 and do not have a family history of dementia.

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I agree with JoAnn, once we start hitting a certain age, it is quite normal to forget things.

The way I view it, our brain is like hundred of filing cabinets where we have stored information all of our life. Now those filing cabinets are full, so it takes longer to find the right thing we needed.... and sometimes what we need has been misfiled so we remember it two days later, usually at midnight :P

My hobby was politics but I have found in the past three years that filing cabinet has exploded so all the info is now scattered. I am better off not watching the news.

As for double checking things, that is a bit of OCD, which I have. As my primary doctor had told me, if it doesn't have a major impact on your life, don't worry about it. It's like being absent minded.

Now a days I can't answer more than a couple things on Jeopardy, so instead I watch Cash Cab where I get 75% of the answers correct. That makes me feel good.

Anywho, welcome to the club :)
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OkieGranny Nov 13, 2019
Thanks for your kind words. This club is not all it's cracked up to be. ;-)
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There is an aging process that has nothing to do with Dementia. I am 70 and find it hard finding that word I am trying to say. Its right there on the tip of my brain, just can't grasp it. I sat with my Mom while the neurologist have her those little tests. Like pointing to a watch face and asking what it was. I am thinking crystal but Mom got face. Those memory things where they show u objects then take them away. You are suppose to right how many u remember. Mom did better than me and she had Dementia. But, I never did well with those games. Actually, I don't like games. Or puzzles. Or coloring. Oh yeah, they are going to have fun trying to keep me busy in the home.

I do think I have ADD. Not drastic but a little. Stress will screw with ur head too.
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OkieGranny Nov 13, 2019
I like puzzles, but not hard ones. If it involves anything that resembles a math word problem, forget it. Thanks for your kind words.
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OkieGranny,

Have you been to your family doctor for a complete lab workup recently?

About 10 years ago in my mid 40's I was having memory issues, doing odd things, like forgetting I was cooking dinner, completely forgetting conversations. I was terrified. When I spoke with my doctor, he assured me that he worries about those who are not aware that they are forgetting and their family drags them in. He did a full lab work up and it turned out I was B12 anemic.

If you have always been bad with direction, then don't worry about that, it is not going to magically get better now.

Start with your doctor, if you are passing the memory tests in the office, then they need to look for a medical reason. And I can attest to the fact that the more I worried about it the worse my memory was.
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OkieGranny Nov 13, 2019
I had not thought of getting lab work done, but that is a good suggestion. I doubt I could be lacking B12 since I take a multivitamin that has oodles of it. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Oh, I hear you, OkieGranny! Since Mom died last year of dementia and other issues, I'm in terror of it too. Life hasn't slowed down much for me but I'm doing the best I can to slow it. I also take supplements like ginseng, gingko biloba, and Omega-3 capsules, meditate every day, all supposed to help with brain health. My brain still burps, but I do have a lot going on.

A hundred years ago when I was in my 20s (and knew nothing of dementia and Alzheimer's), I had a period when I would write simple words, like "the" and wrote it "teh". It was terrifying.

I went to a neurologist and she ran a bunch of tests then asked what my life was life. I told her of the stress and the workload (I was in the military). She told me I was fine but I had too much running around in my brain (my words). I learned to calm down, even refusing to participate in whining sessions on duty. In a matter of months I was fine. Since then, if things like this start happening, I recognize it and work to slow my life down. That helps a lot.
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OkieGranny Nov 13, 2019
I do have a lot on my mind, but I tend to think that is just life. Our problems don't go away, they just change. I don't think of myself as having a lot of stress, because I see others who have so much more to deal with than I do, but it's a possibility. There are some things weighing on my mind.
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To reduce your anxiety, have you considered consulting a neuropsychologist for a cognitive evaluation? The evaluation not only determines memory, it also can check on executive functions of the brain. Insurance should cover the cost.
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OkieGranny Nov 14, 2019
Thanks for the info.
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The fact that you are aware of slight memory glitches actually makes it less likely you have dementia. Your age, as does mine, means we are more prone to forgetting odd things. That’s not dementia that just getting older.

My sense of direction is zilch ironically too and always has been. I’m a southpaw and have a number of other issues medically.

If you worry or are depressed that also affects your memory - so the best thing you can do is laugh at those odd glitches. For example I could not remember the word cauliflower the other day and had to say it’s like broccoli but white! 🤣🤣 shop assistant thought I was joking since I was stood by the darn things!

Do crosswords, try thinking of mnemonics for things - I never could remember a lady’s name - then learnt to think Man In A boat and can remember Manina now! Or ‘Ave A Card O for avocado - psoriasis I never could say properly till I broke it down - I say psoriasis but think Sore Eye A Sis

i got bad re gas fire - would go and check it then wonder if turned light out..... ended up saying I’m checking fire ... I’m turning light out. That resolved then got same issue with handbrake. I’d go back to check. In the end one day I decided I always checked and always the hand brake was ok so I left it. Came back - hadn’t put handbrake on! But car not gone anywhere so stopped worrying

The very things you worry about are probably what your family find endearing about you! Stop worrying and enjoy life - it’s short
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jacobsonbob Nov 14, 2019
Your comment about cauliflower made me laugh--you could just call it "albino broccoli". Some years ago my father joked about this, at the table asking for albino broccoli--but deliberately mispronouncing the words as "al-BEAN-oh BROC-oh-lie". (We used to have a lot of fun with words, sometimes using unrelated words because they sounded funny in the new context--such as when I said "there's a glockenspiel on the wall" referring to a daddy longlegs (or harvestman) arachnid, or referring to the collection of round chimneys on top of an English building as a "calliope".)

I'm trying to get into a habit of making time to laugh, even if it's at something silly, vulgar or childish, figuring there is probably a reason why it has been called "the best medicine". (Thanks for YouTube!)
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To OkieGranny re: "oodles" of B-12...

B-12, found in the majority just in animal foods, can only be assimilated in the intestines via the "intrinsic factor" - - of which we have less and less effectivity as we age.

Taking an oral supplement of B12, one that is swallowed and depends upon digestion, is pretty much useless.

Take heart - - there is an easy way to get B12 that is just as effective as a physician's injection: B12 in the sub-lingual form.

For years, the only sub-lingual form available was cyanocobalamin, but more recent research has shown that methylcobalamin, available now (although at a higher cost), is much more biologically active. Don't worry if you can only get the cyano- form, as it is still effective.

Please do not think that it is workable to suck on just any old B12 tablet - - NO, for proper assimilation, the sub-lingual form must be prepared molecularly in the lab.

Sublingual is just what it means too: you don't swallow it with a liquid chaser - - you put the tablet under your tongue and let it dissolve, slowly swallowing saliva as it is produced - - the idea is that the majority of the B-12 is absorbed through the oral mucosa.
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PeeWee57 Nov 14, 2019
Agreed, but I'd suggest lab tests for intrinsic factor antibodies and parietal cell antibodies first. Positive results can indicate pernicious anemia, against which oral/sublingual B-12 is pretty much useless (I've been there, done that and am now getting injections).

My sister, a retired RN, refers to the brain fog and forgetfulness as "anemia brain."
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Okie Granny,  re B-12 deficiency:   I've read we need more of it as we age.  I too take a supplement but learned back in 2017 that I was deficient to the extent that the attending doctor wanted to give me an injection.    So that could be an issue.

Tothill  and Earlybird make good points on worrying and stress.    I've found that to be a major undercurrent of mental confusion, especially if the worrying involves multiple subjects, literally too many for one person to handle at one time.

"Trying to do the things I hate and/or fear is quite a challenge."

I think that's a factor in what I've been thinking about for some time.   We're in a position for which we literally have no preparation, and are faced with challenges that often do not have solutions.   

In some ways we're like hikers trying to climb mountains w/o climbing gear, trying to figure out our paths and moves as we go alone.    And to complicate these ventures, we're dealing with our parents' or other family individuals' health, and lives.   

That's an awesome challenge, and one that I think our generation doesn't have all the preparation, and certainly not the financial support, that we need.   So we struggle along as best as we can.

One of the changes I found most notable was the difference from a paid job.   We have responsibilities, support for them, job obligations are defined, and we can either work within parameters or adapt to new ones, with the firm/company's support.

That access, support and confidence of accomplishment don't always exist in caregiving.   Sometimes I felt as I was moving forward with blinders on, b/c of the lack of information and support.

So, many of us are in uncharted territory.   That's enough to cause anxiety in and of itself, let alone adding in the responsibility for someone who's aging, has health problems, mobility problems, or more. 

The other aspect that's missing from these jobs we have as caregivers is the knowledge of a job well done.    There are some here who had confidence in themselves and felt they did their best.   I envy them, b/c I think many of us had anxiety over whether or not we're able to do that.   I second guessed myself a lot, and still do, and it leads to indecision, on many levels. 

Summarizing, I think we're in situations where reinforcement can be minimal if it exists at all.  We question our actions.   We don't build up confidence, and in fact I think it's slips away.    The negativity takes its toll.   And we lack the benefit if not emotional reinforcement of a job well done.  

Add to that possible sibling hostility, and perhaps one of the biggest factors in life today, the friction, turmoil, hostility and violence that's risen in society here as well as in other countries. 

This is NOT a happy time for our planet's residents.   And now we're going through procedures that don't happen regularly, and which create a lot of tension and anxiety about the short and long term direction of the country.   

The amount of data we have to absorb has exploded.  It's no wonder we can't think clearly.
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I think stress has a lot to do with forgetfulness. I myself get absentminded at times when the stress level is high. For example: Running late and rushing all over the place to get to an appointment on time. Forget to turn out the lights, check to make sure stove is turned off, make sure fan is turned off in bedroom, appointments sometimes three in one day. I write down things I have to do for the day and that helps. I would get a checkup just to be sure everything is ok. Hope things turn out well for you.
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elaineSC Nov 14, 2019
I agree with you, earlybird. Anxiety is what I call an "enemy" of mine. It causes confusion and agitation and obviously that will affect keeping up with things and memory. I take a very mild anti-anxiety medication. That helps me a lot. My doctor knows that I do not like taking medications unless they are absolutely necessary and even then, I cut my anti-anxiety pill into 4ths!!! LOL!! He said that is why he has no problem with me taking it. I have an extra empty bottle where I keep the "crumbs" when I cut them. I can't take strong meds but I do take it to keep myself on a normal keel.
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Hi OkieGrannie,
I am now 60. I first began recognizing I was having memory issues in February of 2011. I was having difficulty mastering things that for many years came to me easily. I went and saw my doctor who tried to assure me it was probably not memory issues, but stress of working 60-70 hrs a week, having a special needs child and helping my DW manage the life of our child, and even though I'd been managing sleep apnea effectively through CPAP, that it was stress from these issues.
Five years after talking with the doctors about increasing memory issues I was fired from my last job for failure to meet goals after having been in my line of work for over 37 yrs. I had also watched my maternal uncle and step-father die from ALZ disease one in his late 70's, one in his early 90's. I vowed to myself I'd keep an eye out on things and not be a denier of memory problems. My whole life, I'd been a spitting image and similar personality to my uncle and I knew I didn't want to suffer the way he and my stepfather had suffered. Once I was fired from my job at the age of 56 the doctors took note and ran me through an MRI and Neuropsych exam. Low and behold 4 months later after all testing was completed I was diagnosed one month before my 57th birthday with early onset ALZ. I was right all along.
Once I knew what the problem was I set out to learn more about this disease and I believe the Holy Spirit guided me to find this Forum. I've learned a lot, and made it my mission to share advice I have to offer with others effected by this horrible disease. I encourage anyone who thinks they may have a problem to stand up and strongly advocate for yourself. The biggest mistake I made in going through the diagnosis process was not having my DW go along with me for the Neuropsych exam. The results given to me by the Neuropsych doctor orally, was a different story
than what he put in writing two weeks later. I wish I had her with me but never dreamed it was necessary, nor did the doctor say, I should be accompanied.
We were in the process of setting up Estate Plans, Medical Directives, Pour Over Wills etc. when I received the diagnosis. I had a friend recommend a lawyer that specializes to Social Security Disability who took on my case and 52 days after he filed the paperwork, my first check was in the mail. I hope fellow readers find this useful. I learned so much from this valuable site, I'm glad it's here and thank all for their contributions to Aging Care.
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