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Forgetfulness - Not Always Serious

Updated on August 4, 2015
Forgetfulnes or Something more Serious
Forgetfulnes or Something more Serious

Forgetfulness - Don't Think the Worst

Moments of forgetfulness happen to everyone. For most of us forgetfulness is caused by not concentrating on what we are doing, trying to do too many things at the same time, rushing or exacerbated by tiredness, feeling ill or stress.

Many characters are forgetful such as the lovable bear, Winnie the Pooh, or the cowboy called Forgetful Jones who appeared in the Muppet’s show and what about Dory in “Finding Nemo” who can’t remember if she’s coming or going.

However don’t be concerned that you’re having a senior or menopause moment when you cannot remember text message abbreviations such as CRAFT. In text speak it stands for “Can’t remember a freaking thing”.

The young also suffer from brain fade.

Laugh - its good for you.

If you would like to know that you and your forgetfulness are not alone - watch the hilarious video below and see the reactions of the audience of all ages.

Friedrich Nietzsche said:

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”

Normal Forgetfulness

“Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.”
Kahlil Gibran.

Understanding normal forgetfulness can help us more gracefully adjust to healthy aging. We need to give ourselves or our loved ones more time to recall events, names or words as normal recall can take just a little longer.

If you fall into any or all of the categories below, you are just fine - but see your doctor if you are worried.

  1. If you remember later something you have forgotten, either spontaneously or after thinking it over- that's normal.
  2. If reminders work such as reconnecting a name, word or experience if someone or something reminds you
  3. Using tools effectively such as notes or a calendar to remember.
  4. Forgetting a couple of times a piece of information, then after remembering or being reminded again, it should be more easily retrievable.
  5. Feeling frustrated with forgetting but displaying normal behavior while responding is normal. Uncharacterisitic anger, denial or defensiveness may indicate a problem.
  6. Being forgetful but still able to consistently perform basic needs such as bathing, dressing and eating is normal.

Tips to Aid Forgetfulness

Albert Schweitzer feels that

"Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory”.

Maybe he has a point, however if you really want to do better try the following tips:

  • Plan tasks and make ‘to do’ lists and mark calendars.
  • Try to connect the things you are trying to remember to a familiar name, song, book or TV show.
  • Develop interests and stay involved in activities that the aid mind and body.
  • Exercise such as walking encourages better brain function, although it is not proven to delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
  • Limit alcohol. Moderate amounts has its health benefits while heavy or binge drinking can cause memory loss over time.
  • Try Suduko or do crossword puzzles.

A recent study from UCLA found that respondents across all age groups who engaged in just one healthy behaviour were 21% less likely to report memory problems than those who didn’t engage in any healthy behaviours.

Those with two positive behaviours were 45% less likely to report memory problems while those with three soared to 75%.

The 18 500 participants between the age of 18 and 90 who completed this research proved that the more healthy lifestyle behaviours were employed, the less likely one was to complain about memory issues.

Laughter is the best medicine

Watch this hilarious video by Tom Rush “The Remember Song” which resonates with a lot of people in his audience and went viral with 6 million hits. Playing music and laughter are wonderful ways to help your memory as both improve blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

When it's not funny - Is it Dementia?

Many older people worry that forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer’s, so let's look at the symptoms:

Serious changes in memory, personality and behaviour may signify a brain disease called dementia.

Dementia describes the symptoms caused by changes in brain function such as repeatedly asking the same questions, losing one’s way in familiar places, inability to follow directions, becomes disorientated about places, time and people, also neglect of personal hygiene, nutrition and safety.

Vascular Dementia.

A series of strokes may result in the death of brain tissue, the location and severity of the strokes occurrence in the brain determine the seriousness of the problems. It may affect the person’s memory, language, reasoning and coordination.

Symptoms usually begin abruptly and progress with repeated strokes. The resultant damage may not be reversible, but treatment to prevent further strokes is imperative.

Some conditions that cause dementia can be reversed while others cannot.

Many different medical conditions may show symptoms that mimic, but are in fact are not dementia.

  • Senior people may have emotional problems, such as feeling sad, lonely or bored, that may be mistaken for dementia.
  • Adapting to the death of a friend of spouse can leave one feeling confused or forgetful.
  • Stress and anxiety can make it harder to concentrate and absorb new skills, and block the retrieval of old ones.
  • An under active thyroid can affect memory as well as disturb sleep and cause depression.
  • A bad reaction to medicine, a minor head injury, thyroid gland problems can all be treated and symptoms reversed.
  • Depression can include a stifling sadness, lack of drive and lack of pleasure in things which used to be enjoyed.

Difference between Forgetfulness and Dementia

What about Alzheimer's Disease?

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease begin slowly and become steadily worse, as changes to nerve cells in parts of the brain result in the death of a large number of cells.

Symptoms range from mild forgetfulness to a serious lack of judgment and reasoning problems, deteriorating functioning, loss of previous abilities or negative changes in personality which eventually result in the person requiring total care.

Medication for Alzheimer’s disease help to maintain thinking, memory and speaking skills and may lessen behavioural problems from a few months to a few years in some people. However they cannot stop the progression of the disease.

Latest Research on Alzheimer's

A breakthrough in Alzheimers's research was recently made by the Washington University School of Medicine.

A commonly prescribed antidepressant has shown to be effective at slowing the onset of Alzheimer's. The problem with loss of memory and cognition caused by this disease is influenced strongly by the buildup of plaques in the brain.

Now, Citalopram an antidepressant was to halt the growth of exisiting plaques, while reducing the formation of new plaques by 78%.

This is marvellous news to all those Alzheimer's sufferers out there.


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    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      7 years ago

      peachpurple, thank you for stopping by and commenting. You are such a busy, productive person perhaps you have too much on your mind, and when the brain gets overloaded it drops memories it doesn't consider important. :)

    • peachpurple profile image


      7 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i am in early 40s, i have a very bad memory, i can't remember anything that had happened 2 days ago or yesterday. I can't remember what I cooked for dinner yesterday either!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      7 years ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

      Whew, what a relief! I love it when I walk into a room for something and then forget why I'm standing there. It doesn't seem to be age related, however, I think I've done that my entire life.

      I had a stepfather succumb to dementia and I understand the pain it causes, mostly for the family members because those affected by the disease don't recognize that anything is wrong. Thanks for reassuring those of us who sometimes question our mental health. Great hub!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Forgetfulness - Not Always Serious interesting points mentioned here so one is aware of such facts. Sound advice!

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Hart 

      7 years ago from Lanarkshire

      Voted up and awesome! Great hub- reassured me that I'm not losing my marbles, despite having the memory span of a goldfish! :)

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      7 years ago

      Peggy W Glad you enjoyed the hub. As long as we can laugh at our slips and realise we all do it, we are fine! Thank you for stopping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Like Pamela said, that video at the end was cute. Good hub about a serious subject. I definitely have those "senior moments" but fortunately not too often. Enjoyed those quotes scattered throughout your hub. Voted up and useful.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This hub has some excellent information. I think most of us are concerned with dementia as we age. The funny song was a great close to forgetfulness. Voted way up!

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Thank you Joe for your comments and it's great to have you visit when you are so busy with the 30/30. Read you soon.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      8 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Thank you for writing this hub. The issue of Alzheimer's Disease is a familiar one, having affected loved ones. It was especially refreshing and amusing to read about the various "normal" kinds of forgetfulness and coping strategies. All in all, this was a stellar hub, Shelley! Have a wonderful Sunday! Aloha!


    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      justateacher. Ha ha I love it, thanks for the great comment - and you are right about the effects of some medication.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      8 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Great advice. Also remember that there are some medications that affect memory. If you are having recurrent problems with memory, talk to your doctor - especially if you are on lots of medication. Changing meds may help your memory improve. Now, I was going to say something else, but I forgot what it was....


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