Fear, Aging and Memory Loss

memory loss

Some people fear memory loss as they age. Sometimes we even make up excuses to justify the forgetful things we do. For me, it was “maternal dementia” while my kids were still in the nest.

Now I am finally an empty nester but I am balancing working, making two weddings and caring for my mom. I notice my own memory blips and it can feel scary. There are moments when I wonder if I am heading for dementia or Alzheimer’s?

When I notice the fear rising up, I seem to become more forgetful. I hear my inner voice say, “What was I about to do?” or “Where did I put that?”. I remind myself, “Let go of these thoughts and focus on what you want.”…the idea usually floats back into my mind.

After juggling with my self-talk and finally finding what I am looking for, or realizing exactly what absent minded thing I did, I head over to see my 89 year old Mom. I try to respond patiently when she repeatedly asks me: “When is Rachel’s wedding? Oh..I have it on the calendar.”

Then we sit down to review paper work. With a note of exasperation as she realizes she is no longer her incredibly organized self, she’ll say, “I guess you are the boss now.”

I observe how she is managing this stage of forgetfulness. The first stages occurred a couple of years ago when my dad became ill and then passed one year later. Initially, there was anger and denial, parts of dementia I’ve been told, then over time, more acceptance of how things are. Fiercely independent, being taken care of is not easy for mom.

What I notice is that she does not seem to be afraid of anything. Could this add to her calmness about memory loss? I’ll never forget some of the episodes of fear that my dad had during his final years.

When he and Mom first moved to an adult community, Dad became rather sad and commented that he did not think that the people at the breakfast table were interested in what he had to say because he was loosing mental sharpness. Rather shocked by that comment, because I admired my dad’s undiminished erudition, (he would have liked this word!), I said there must be some other reason that people seemed to ignore him.

His demeanor shifted in a few moments…”They probably cannot not hear me. I’ll try speaking louder.” That worked!

The power of our thoughts seems to affect our entire well-being. Fear is an especially powerful emotion. How can we shift it to open up our memory and access our thoughts more clearly?

Having a conscious way to let fear go can be so energizing. For me, it is reminding myself to let go of the negative thoughts that do not serve me and taking a deep breath. After much practice, I find that the fear I used to schlep everywhere is not coming with me nearly as often.

Many of my coaching clients, especially those with ADHD, find that releasing the old thought patterns that keep them locked in the fear of failure help them to focus and move forward.

Fear of memory loss seems to make forgetfulness happen more often. Practice letting fear go and free up your own working memory at any age!

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About Jane Kramer

Jane Kramer, CPC, ELI-MP – As a parent of 3 grown children, one of whom has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, my understanding of ADHD is both personal and professional. I pursued my Certification in Coaching with The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and am experienced in coaching adults who are challenged by ADHD or live with loved ones with ADHD. I am passionate about my work and keep abreast of the latest information on coping successfully with the challenges of ADHD. If you want to live to your full potential, I will empower you to reach your goals. For more information, please contact me at [email protected]. The website is: www.addfocuscoaching.com

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