By Sunie Levin
I lost my car keys. I have searched everywhere. You know what? It doesn’t matter. I won’t need them unless I find my car!
My husband laughed until he choked when I told him I was writing this article. I manage to lose something everyday, some days several things. The daily list includes glasses, purse, car keys and cell phone. I panic when they are gone. Did I leave them in a restaurant? At the beauty shop? At the doctor’s office. He patiently assures me they’re right here, at home, and he’s always right.
So why am I writing this type of article? I’m 82 years old. My senior moments come too frequently. Some days my 85 year old husband has to supply the tip of my tongue with my missing word. “Where did I put the purple stuff?” He replies,”You mean the grape juice, and it’s on the counter, right there. Once not all that long ago I went to a lecture and put my purse and umbrella under the seat. When the lecture was over I went to my car, but couldn’t get in. The keys of course were in my purse. Panicking, I ran back and luckily they were still there, right where I left them.
Memory. It bothers all of us ‘of a certain age’. When we remember to think about it. When I saw my internist recently for a checkup I shared my concern about my daily “oops” and said fearfully, Do you think it’s Alzheimers?” He said, not the least worried, “You managed to get here on the date and time of your appointment, didn’t you? You didn’t get lost on the way, did you? And you are still writing articles and books. Why don’t you write how you compensated for the natural memory loss you are experiencing? It’s an everyday problem.”
Good idea! So here’s the article. I’m going to share some of the tricks I now use to jog my memory. They’re easy, and I’m not going to harass you to learn mnemonic devices. Forgetting is normal. Losing your keys doesn’t mean you are losing your mind. Much forgetfulness is just a symptom of bein distracted.
So here are a few tricks I found extremely useful. When I remember to use them, that is:
* Find a basket for everything you routinely use,. Keep it in the exact same place, and use it to put down your eyeglasses, house and car keys, cell phone, pill box. Once you’re firmly in the habit of going to that exact spot, you’ll always find what you are looking for. Hey, I trained my schnauzer. I can certainly train myself.
* Losing your car in parking lot isn’t fun especially, if it rains. “Oh my gosh, somebody must have stolen it.” The simplest way is to look back twice, picking up a landmark so you’ll remember the row it’s in. Another way is to carry a small tape recorder or text a message where to find your car. In fact, use your tape recorder to remind yourself about anything you’re afraid you might forget.
* Something on the tip of my tongue I can’t recall. Like the purple stuff, try reciting the alphabet and when you get to the right letter of the alphabet the word starts with, the answer usually pops to mind.
* Put something down and can’t find it five minutes later? Focus! Pay attention! Take a second, and visualize in your mind a detailed picture. Say it out loud when you put it down. “I put my file with medical bills on the low bedroom dresser.” Then take a second to visualize the file. Just what could I have done with the file? Thrown it in the trash? Okay, maybe. Retrace everywhere you’ve been and visualize the file. You’ll find it. It will be there.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..
– Sunie Levin, author of Make New Friends… Live Longer, is a graduate of the University of Missouri and holds degrees in psychology and education. She has appeared on local and national T.V. and was a syndicated columnist for many newspapers.