Over the weekend I spoke to my sister who lives in Trinidad about my grandmother. For her age certain memory capacities are not affected greatly in terms of procedural memory (she always cooks and can tell you every ingredient in her recipes), semantic memory and even episodic memory (not great but not bad). However, her long term and short term memory seem highly affected. Now I have heard stories of her not remembering certain things that just happened or remembering visits from family members but this one was just….I don’t want to say funny but funny. So at times she can be a bit paranoid and hides things. The other day she was looking for a prescription she received from the doctor. She swore up and down that one of my aunts kept it and never gave it to her. She called her a thief and really believed that my aunt had it. Now, my grandmother has a parrot named Polly. I mean this parrot is her bestie almost like one of her children. She’s always feeding her, cleaning her cage and talking to her. My sister just had an urge to check inside the bird cage and like magic it was at the top of the cage tucked away. Of course, when my sister told her where it was, she insisted she didn’t put it there and somebody put it there to hide it from her. Eventually, she said “well it’s possible I put it there but who knows”. What really made me laugh was when I spoke to my grandmother myself and asked her about it she said verbatim “they said I put the prescription in the cage but I know damn well somebody put it there. I mean I could have but no.”
I laughed but then I thought about it for a minute. I wondered how it could be that she has a good sense of other memories that happened decades ago and not things that happened a few days ago. At one point my niece did a family tree and my grandmother gave her all the information and it was right! (we checked with my mom and aunts). I automatically thought about Alzheimer’s. I found this website that discusses memory and Alzheimer’s. It also helped understand other memory disorders as well.