People suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s usually move back in time to their past. I understand why. Even though it is not a conscious effort on their part, they go back to a time when their parents and siblings were alive, or in my former father-in-law’s case, back to when they felt worthwhile. They had jobs, families, and just plain old lives that made them feel good about themselves. When extremely ill or sad, why not remember better times?
Healthy seniors remember for the same reason as a very ill person. Going back to when life was full of hope is much better than facing up to a present life full of pain, loss of mobility, loss of friends and family, and most of all loss of income. So many seniors do not have a great pension much less a golden parachute. Many had one but illness, divorce, or other setbacks have taken the security away. Now it is a time of “killing time.” And what better way than remembering better times!
So the next time you are feeling impatient with an older person “remembering,” you need to understand that it could easily be you in a few years. Instead of criticism or disdain, try listening to what is remembered. It could give you a view into history or even give you a view into your future life. Who knows? Things happen.