Friday, September 3, 2010

Alzheimer's and old memories, memory loss, long term memory preservation

One of the important aspects about Alzheimer's disease and memory loss is the fact that the last part of the memory to decline is the long term memory. In other words your loved one will not remember very recent things,, from the here and now, what they ate for dinner four hours ago for example, but they will remember stuff from forty or fifty years ago quite clearly. Sometimes they can remember events from the 1950's or 60's like it was yesterday. There is trouble storing new and recent memories, but the old ones last a really long time in the disease process. It is just the nature of how the disease process works.
They might not know who the current president is, but they might remember some interesting things about JFK or the moon landing or even Pearl Harbor if they are old enough.
You might use this to connect with your loved one. Music is a wonderful area where long term memory is preserved, and it generally calms the mind and soul to hear music "from our time".
Old photographs also can sometimes stimulate mood, memory and the spirit.
It is a strange thing for people to see and observe sometimes, how can you not remember what day it is or what month, but you can tell me the name of your third grade teacher?
Ultimately the long term memories will also decline as the disease progresses, but use them while you have them. It is freeing and a wonderful way to connect. Don't worry if the old memories are not exactly accurate, just connect to your loved one through them.
You might even learn something historical and interesting that you never would have known had you not tried.


Transcription Service said...

Great post...
Thank you for the post..

karen said...

Mom still calls my name and other family members . And she ask to go with me if I am going out the door. Going out to eat and to the movies or shopping was her fav. things . So I say lets go to Walmart or do you want to go the movies. Most of the time she does not respond but I think talking to her about it is good.

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day