Letter: Don’t Joke

Letter to the Editor

This is the first week of September and, all of a sudden, my phone line seems to be besieged by Malibu folks (familiar, I guess, with my Malibu Chronicle Memory articles of past years) worrying over memory loss and dementia.

Most are seniors (as I am) and have always been under the misinformation that memory loss comes naturally with age.

Research proves otherwise. Unless you have suffered from alcoholism or been involved with accidents that caused injury to your brain, your age alone does not bring on memory loss. So, don’t let an old fallacy that doesn’t hold water anymore drown you.

And just because your parents had dementia or Alzheimer’s, doesn’t mean you will. (Other than early onset Alzheimer’s, dementia is not an inherited trait.) Look it up in your search engine.

Since COVID-19 invited itself in, many of us are filling hours watching more TV than usual and I have been amazed by the dementia talk cycle and by the addition of so many ads beckoning seniors to take pills to supplement their memory.

I realize that much of the news you are seeing this week is, indeed, very scary, but just because you have lived for over half a century and you can’t recall a name or two does not mean you’re headed for the dementia daybed. And memory pills won’t do you any good unless you first learned how to push the save key on the best computer in the world: the one attached to your neck.

As I said, I, too, am a senior (very senior) and my memory is as intact as it always was.

That’s because I learned the 1-2-3 basics of memory retention years ago:

1.Collect (focus on what you want to remember)

2.Connect (new information to known information—“what does that make me think of?”)

3.Recollect (review your connections)

If I can’t recall a name, I don’t think my memory is in trouble—and I don’t think I forgot it; I know that I never really got it in the first place. You can’t forget what you never got.

Yes, I do realize that some older people will suffer from dementia but that doesn’t mean you or I will. The biggest problem anyone can have with their memory is thinking they have a problem.

So, cut out the dum-dum jokes… “My memory is one chicken short of a barbecue,” “My brain has gone to Philadelphia,” et al.

Keep in mind that the subconscious takes every thought you’re sending down as a directive, And though you know you’re joking, the subconscious takes it seriously. It has no sense of humor!

So, don’t be surprised if you can’t think of your spouse’s name next time you’re in an introductory situation.

It breaks my heart to hear the worry today of so many seniors.

If memory retention had been taught in the school system, where it belongs, my phone message machine wouldn’t have been overflowing this particular week with such fearful calls.

Hermine Hilton