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Topic Short Term Memory Loss Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By jcolin On 2009.12.14 16:47
My wife is in the relatively early stages of Parkinson's, with several of the usual and expected symptoms, but the one that is surprising me is her short term (up to 36 hours) memory loss, which her neurologist says is not unusual. I have not read or heard much of this symptom, which, oddly enough, is the toughest one for me, her primary caregiver, to cope with. Can any member shed any insight on this symptom ?

By lurkingforacure On 2009.12.14 18:05
I will throw out there that we all have short term memory loss and I have found that the more stress either my PD husband or I have (kids, taking care of my PD spouse, meeting deadlines) the more likely we are to forget things....ranging from a meeting to where the car is parked to whether the dogs were picked up from the vet.

PD is STRESSFUL whether you are the patient or the caregiver, and the stress fluctuates and that in itself is stressful. Researchers are discovering more and more how stress affects us and it's all bad. Keeping this in mind, that you and your wife are in a relentlessly stressful situation, may actually help reduce the stress because you realize you are in an impossible situation and can only do so much.

Finally, the PD meds mess things up even more, my husband refers to it as "brain fog" and our neuro has confirmed this because he takes mirapex for his RLS. Depending on what meds your wife takes, her meds could be influencing things in this regard. I think they have actually done some research that the anti-cholingergic drugs can worsen and/or bring on dementia, so you may want to google this and talk to the doc.

In my family I take care of all the finances, pay all the bills, etc. so my husband doesn't have to worry about that and I don't worry that something got overlooked (not that I haven't made mistakes of course!). I also try not to worry too much about he or I forgetting stuff here and there-that IS part of aging, PD or not, and there is little to nothing one can do about it anyway. If you find out that there is, please let us all know!

By karolinakitty On 2009.12.14 21:12
Short term memory loss is probably one of our biggest struggles at this point. Forgetting if he took his meds, foegetting if he ate or drank. Like lurkingforacure, i take care of all the household responsibilities, doc appointments, meetings, etc etc
It is probably most frustrating for both of us but we kinda have gone the opposite direction lately. I give up asking "don't you remember" and he's given up thinking about it so we are even.
I second lurking also with the stress part. It seems like when he is under more stress, the more he forgets things. Again i try to keep stress at a minimum for many reasons but this is a big one. He tested for mild dementia last time at docs, almost 6 months now but haven't seen much more of a decrease than what was pronounced in our last visit.
I guess ya just keep punching on through, and i don't make big the fact that he forgets, it's just something we don't need to stress about. The little things are just that and it's not worth getting everybody worried and stressed when there are more important things to do like just live....

By LOHENGR1N On 2009.12.15 00:03
jcolin, Hi and welcome to the forum. Other than being in early stages of Parkinson's have You looked up medications She is on? Sometimes memory problems can be a side effect of med's. Which if this is the case the Neurologist would say it's not unusual, as they are familiar with the drugs and side effects. (This doesn't help us though as we're generally not up on these medicines) One thing that's very important for Caregivers/partners and family to do is learn to press the Doctors for more information when statements are made. We Patients also have to learn to ask the likes of, what do you mean it's not unusual? Is this part of the disease at this stage or is it from medication? If from medication will it last? Will a reduced dosage lessen the problem or can We try some other drug?

Personally I have hammered the point home so much to my Neurologist I'm surprised He hasn't repeated my mantra to me...."look I live alone if I start seeing and interacting with things and people that aren't there I'm in REAL TROUBLE!"

Stress as others have said is a big problem. In this unwanted journey through Parkinson's Disease We all are learning and You've found a great place here on the forum for understanding and help. Stay with Us and don't be afraid to ask questions. These's a great bunch of caring loving people here who will help anyway they can. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Emma On 2009.12.15 04:35
Everyone is different, a mantra you will hear often on this board. My husband started having fairly severe short term memory loss a couple of years before he showed any physical symptoms of Parkinson's. He was in his fifties at the time, seemingly healthy, and was not taking any medications at all. As the disease has progressed he has developed a more full blown dementia. Like others, I take charge of all matters relating to money or decision making. Initially I would get frustrated with the memory loss because I thought he just wasn't paying attention. I used to waste a lot of time saying things like "don't you remember, we just talked about that". It did nothing but frustrate both of us. Now I just repeat things and move on. It isn't odd that it's the hardest thing for you to deal with, many of us on this board have said the same thing; the memory, psychological and behavioral aspects of this disease, when they occur (not everyone gets them) are much harder to deal with than the physical symptoms. Good luck, we all understand what you are going through as you start this journey and we are here to offer as much help, support and advice as we can.

By kuttlewis On 2009.12.15 08:51
To me it is one of the saddest features of PD. The other day John said he had a wonderful idea on how to solve a problem. When I asked him what it was, he said, tearfully, "I can't remember."

By bandido1 On 2009.12.15 13:37
jcolin: Patient Bob C here. Welcome! I have already forgotten what I wanted to say! At age 78, that is not unusual. I sometimes think I have a selective memory, and that is often confirmed by my caretaker. For instance, when she asks me to remember to put the toilet seat down, I blame it on short term memory. When I leave this computer on all day, I blame it on short term memory. When I fail to record her favorite TV show, I blame it on short term memory. On long-term memory I am, of course, an expert. I vividly remember every argument we've had and why I was always right. The subliminal message to be extracted from this post is "dont sweat it!" Bigger challenges lie ahead for you. Good luck, and, as my good friend and fellow patient LOHEGR1N would say, hang in there! Bob C

By smith2628 On 2009.12.15 20:01
Hi and welcome, my dad was recntly diagnosed, in the first stages as well and his short term memory loss is just like your wife's. He can recall details from my childhood, but not what he ate yesterday. I tried putting him on exelon patches to help with memory but his hallucinations became stronger. We decided his short term memory loss was better than him talking to his mom (who passed away years ago). One thing I have learned in this disease is that you have to choose sometimes what symtom is better..... which is none. :) All in all, I decided to order him the newspaper each morning so that he reads the daily news and sees the date (that was an issue in his memory loss), and using crossword puzzles to keep his mind sharp. Good luck and maybe we can trade advice with this issue as Im in the same boat.

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