Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

The price of bad memory

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

We humans are accustomed to certain "givens". It's a given that the person you are communicating with has speech, hearing, thinking processes and memory. In fact unless they have an obvious physical injury we assume people are capable and fall under the umbrella of "normal" until proved otherwise.

Memory loss is one of those that isnt obvious but worse still is that even if you tell others you "cant remember" so many aspects of life depend on a good memory that people tend to dismiss it at the time but not the next time. Now, this isnt their fault, life with us humans demands we have a good memory sufficient enough to recall the basics. What happens when that level of basic memory also erodes? How hard is life then for the sufferer and the people he/she is trying to communicate with?

I have it first hand, a failing memory. I used to joke with workmates in my 40's about going out to my shed and forgetting why I went there. Now in my mid 60's it is, at a guess, 10 times worse than that. Daily my poor wife will ask "remember when..." and my usual answer is "nope, remind me". The supply of further information has a 50"% chance of prompting my memory to recall enough to answer. Why is my memory declining?

From google

Possible causes of reversible memory loss include:
Medications. Certain medications or a combination of medications can cause forgetfulness or confusion.
Minor head trauma or injury. ...
Emotional disorders. ...
Alcoholism. ...
Vitamin B-12 deficiency. ...
Hypothyroidism. ...
Brain diseases.

Reasons 1 and 3 cause alarm for those with mental illnesses. Medications and emotional issues. I like many of you have at least one of these. OK, what can we do?

Mnemonics has helped me a lot for the last 30 years. It is using methods to aid the memory. Eg If you need to remember when shopping- Sugar, air freshener, lasagne and tacos. Use the first letter of each to get SALT. Remember salt only and you might find it easy to recall the items.

Notebooks- The problem with these is I cant remember to write it down or if I did to remember to take it with me.

Use your notes in your mobile phone. I do remember to take my mobile phone so that is an effective tool to use.

Alarms. I do use my alarms for meetings and special events.

Facebook- good for birthday reminders

Explaining- I have on occasions named my sister or daughter by my dogs name!! Yes, it happens. They take offence. Try to explain the disability. If they dont accept- then they dont understand.


8 Replies 8

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni


Thank you for being so open and vulnerable with what you are going through and things that can help (i.e. notebooks and notes). Although I am not going through this myself I have noted it in case any of my friends or family go through this. Thank you so much for posting this, I think it will give great comfort to people knowing they are not alone in what they are going through

Thankyou missep,

Simple loss of memory is seen as common and little to be concerned with.

Sadly, these seemingly minor ailments add up to place extra load on an already strained mental capacity


Hi TonyWK,

You've definitely given me a lot of insight into this! I hope you feel supported in what you are going through as well.

Hi missep

I'm also suspicious that with my bipolar mania (and likely traces of ADHD) that led to 90 jobs, 15 professions and 80 cars that I've, in some ways, lived a full life, maybe two lives. Cramming all that activity into 40 years might have caused some memory loss.

I'm ok, its something I am living successfully with. I suspect many though are struggling.


Hi TonyWK,

It really sounds like you have lived a very full life! How fascinating to have tried many different professions. It sounds like you could write a book with all your experiences.

I am really glad to hear you are living successfully with it, you will be a great support though to those who are struggling as you can empathise as to what they are going through and I think that is extremely valuable and helpful!

thankyou Missep.

In fact I've written 250 poems and written a manuscript I hope to get published into a book one day.

Many of my poems are in poetry corner on this site




I relate to this thread,

I have books on improving memory but then I forget where I put them.

i also can’t think of a common word when talking. I now know it will come and ask others to be patient.

I was known for my memory at school and in my family so now it is frustrating and sad.

I use all the aids you mention but to me it is about confidence for me and understanding of others.

Yes, so frustrating Quirky

I think I've isolated 2 major problems

  • Going blank. Often occurs while talking and wanting to reply to someone
  • Remembering to act on alarms. Which is why I have an alarm in the first place.

Funny enough, I'd remember buying donuts at the supermarket but forget my wife's low fat muesli bars 🙂