Monday, March 1, 2021

THE OLDER MIND

The other day I was watching ABC evening news when Cecilia Vega was mentioned as the chief White House correspondent for the network.   My mind thought, that isn't right. ____ _____ is the chief. Yep, the name was gone. Just a blank space where her name should be.  Oh crap I thought. Here we go again. 

I could picture her so I started going through the alphabet hoping to jog her name back into my mind. A-B-C-.  Well I should have gotten a hit on the B but I had to get all the way to M to remember Mary Bruce. I hate it when the word I am looking for starts with a W or Y. Once I was looking for the name Zack Thomas. That took a while.

The only comfort I have is that I know I am not alone in the particular age group I call home.  Sometimes it can be fun. I love to see older married couples who work like a well oiled team. One will hesitate over a lost word or name and the other comes up with the missing word with little prompting. It is really neat to see. They are just in sync.

But I only have Callie and she is worthless unless I am looking for the word "woof, whine, or grr."

In a similar vein of deteriorating brain, do any of you watch Jeopardy?  Have you noticed how you are often a split second late with the Jeopardy answers you actually know?  My Dad, who was the smartest man I knew, once said, "You never see an old person on Jeopardy.  They don't have instant recall."   I think I now get what he meant. 

Some answers I do get in regulation time but most come just a second after the contestant gets it right. I look at Callie with an "I knew that" look. Not sure she is buying it. Of course there are many that I just tell Callie "I have no idea."  

Sometimes I will cheat and hit the pause button giving me just a bit longer to find the answer in my iffy filing system. I think if they played the game slower, there might be some older contestants and probably less viewers.

 I do miss Alex a lot but I really like the executive producer, Mike Richards, taking over the duties of host recently. Hope he stays on.  

Do you notice this sloth like memory creeping up on you?  If so, do you have some memory jogs besides the alphabet, a tuned in spouse, or the pause button on your TV to help you?  I'm always open to new tricks to find the elusive word, name or answer.

66 comments :

  1. Nope, no memory tricks here other than shoving the question to the back of my mind in the hope that it’ll pop back later with the answer.
    Using the pause button for Jeopardy is brilliant.

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    1. Marty,
      Often it does just take a little while. The pause button really works.

      Delete
  2. I have definitely noticed this elusive word or name syndrome. It is a little bit worrisome. I go through the alphabet like you do, and if I can't get the word that way, I might as well just quit thinking about it, and then the name will just pop up out of my brain from nowhere, when I am not even remotely thinking about it.
    Cleaning, driving or being in the shower are often when the missing word comes back to me.

    My husband and I miss Alex, too. We also are really liking Mike Richards now, too. Husband and I watch it while we eat dinner. If they have questions about plants or animals I get more points. If they ask questions about literature or geography my husband usually wins our little supper time contest.

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    1. susie,
      I know. Isn't it weird how it will just suddenly pop in our minds?
      I'm like you on plants or animals but dense on opera or geography. It is a fun challenge though.

      Delete
  3. Son and I play against each other as to who gets it first. We both have been told we should try out for the show. Which is lovely but we both suffer from test anxiety. Not fun!
    We liked Ken Jennings and his feel for the game.

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    1. Smartcat,
      Ooh, I hope either or both of you do. Let us know if that happens. I guess you can apply over the Internet.

      Delete
  4. We are taking a break from Jeopardy because it seems too hard to watch without Alex, somehow a little off.
    I have always been what a therapist described as a slow processer so what's in my mind takes longer than seems natural (to others) to come out my mouth. I wouldn't have made a contestant at my sharpest. Ha! But now I have the satisfaction of welcoming some who made fun of me to my world.

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    1. Olga,
      I know. Even when Johnny Gilbert says the new hosts name--he hesitates just a bit and my mind hears "Alex Trebek".
      Glad we could join your group and give you satisfaction. You certainly are not alone.

      Delete
  5. Patti, I had a real chuckle over your dealings with Callie, I hope Minnie is hanging in there :) This very thing happened to me this morning while watching 'Morning Joe'--I could not remember his wife's name and I've watched this daily for years. I just kept thinking "It's Crystal but I know that's wrong." I got online to look it up when Joe began stammering "But--but Mika!" Anyway, I haven't seen Jeopardy even once since summer, now you have me curious. I can't imagine it without Alex Trebeck. I sure appreciated what your Dad said though, I actually take a little comfort in that. :)

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    1. Doug,
      Ouch, once we substitute the wrong name, it is really hard to get the right one. I do that a lot.
      It is hard without Alex but I am adjusting. So far I like this Richards guy the best.

      Delete
  6. I've never had a quick recall so TV games shows have never interested me. My husband, how, back in the day could get all the answers. He was an avid reader and had a near-photographic memory.

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  7. They've done tests about this. It's true that older people are a little slower on recall and computation than younger people are. But in general older people make better decisions because of their experience and perspective. So ... I'll take the experience and persepctive.

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    1. Tom,
      Good to know there is an advantage. Hey, I don't need to be on Jeopardy and as long as I have the pause button----.

      Delete
  8. Lately I've noticed quite a decline in my memory and recall. In my family I was always the "go-to" person when someone was trying to remember a bit of our past. Not anymore. Gone. Just the other day I was thinking about the grandkids, and realized I couldn't remember the youngest (14 months old) name. I had to check on my computer for that. Blew my forgetful mind! I think the stress of these times has contributed to my decline. Maybe when things calm down I'll remember everything again.

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    1. robin,
      Just remember you are not alone and it is quite common. I do use my blog as a reference point along with Google. We may be older but we have great tools.

      Delete
  9. I still had my brain when Ron was alive so he didn't have to finish my sentences. Thankfully my son visits often and jumps right in these days when I draw a blank. He knows his mama.

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    1. Annie,
      So glad you have the handy son who knows his mama. Nothing like having a live prompter. I have to use mental games, the Internet and often my blog.

      Delete
  10. Oh, could it be that old people aren't as quick on the draw because, perhaps old people have come to a point when they - either consciously or sub-consciously - REALize, that 99.97% of that quik-draw is nothing but game-show trivia. (Hhmm, maybe it's time to kick that idiot box to the curb.) Meanwhile, as we age, our brains continue taking on information that actually matters. And yeah, our brains, like our bodies, have to be treated with care. It's called getting old - and the evolution SUCK-ups (are liars, just like their master) want us old people to think we're stupid. They want us off the planet - hello!

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    1. Sue,
      Naw, think I'll keep the idiot box around. It is good entertainment and often mental exercise.

      Delete
  11. OMG yes I have this syndrome. The other night on Jeopardy I said I know it - give me a minute. I recall when Regis Philbin was on and the trouble he even had with the buzzer or saying it too late but he knew it. I am not fond of being in your club Patti but you're a great president. :-)
    I was surprised how much I liked Ken Jennings, who I don't much care for. I thought he did far better than I thought. None of them have blown me away but I agree that the executive producer so far is best.

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    1. Margaret,
      I was surprised to learn Ken Jennings was actually the oldest Jeopardy (non-celebrity) contestant when he did the GOAT series. He said that age really mattered and gave him trouble even though he won. Hey if it got him at 46 I don't feel badly.

      Delete
  12. My husband and I are in the same boat. We went out to eat with our daughter and her husband Saturday. After we left them, I told my husband, "Do you think they get tired of sitting and waiting for us to come up with the word we are looking for?". It's embarrassing. Sometimes I know what Cliff is trying to think of and "help" him, but I'm not always thinking of the word he is looking for; if it isn't, all I've done is create more problems. We are both a mess, and I often wonder if we are going to end up with full-blown alzheimer's at the same time. As long as we neither one become mean, at least perhaps we could share a room in the rest home together.

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    1. Donna,
      At least your kids will become accustomed to this common condition and won't be alarmed as they age.
      Good thing you two have eachother to bounce words off of.

      Delete
  13. PS. did you know that nouns are the first to go? I learned this from my doctor. Talking about perimenopause and menopause she said women tend to lose nouns more than nother words. I think I lose both quite equally some days but others I see the nouns thing. She said it was estrogen driven. True or not it made me feel better when I could not remember the name of the sofa - sofa, couch, whatever I just pointed and my husband was convince I was having dementia issues. nope it came to me and never lost it again. Whew

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    1. Margaret,
      Didn't know that about nouns. Now I will be more aware. I have found that once I have reclaimed a word or name like you, I don't ever lose it again. That is some comfort.

      Delete
  14. Well, for the most part Bud is of no help!! His thinking is nothing but history of which his mind is sharp as a tack. If I wanted who starred in a movie I get "Don't ask me". So far I prefer Ken Jennings best. He did a great job & knew the ins & outs of how it was to be a contestant.

    Oh, and before I forget, I can be cooking (or some other activity) and think I should look that up in Google. Once I'm online I forget what I wanted to look up. I need premagin!!

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    1. Anni,
      Know what you mean about the lure of the Google. I have done that too wondering what it was I needed to know. It will come to me later. I think that is how older folks get their exercise. Many trips.

      Delete
  15. I try to keep my short term memory intact by recalling what I ate for lunch and dinner today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday. Some people cannot remember what they ate. As for Jeopardy, I am not a big fan of it, because I am not that well informed.

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    1. gigi,
      Ok you lost me when you go to yesterday:) I do good remembering today.

      Delete
  16. Dear Patti, sorry, no helpful hints. I used to be able to memorize all the students names the first day of school. (One year. in a New Hampshire high school, I had 6 classes a day and the first day, I met 267 students, memorized all their names, and was able the next day to recall the names without prompting or glancing at my class record book. I'd had what many called "a phenomoenal memory" from the time I was little. That's all gone now. I can remember conversations from years ago--all the dialogue and the body language and my brother or some one present at the time can confirm that my memory isn't playing me false. But yesterday? Or last week's conversation? Just a vague memory. Names especially escape me--as does the ability to add a string of 3-digit numbers in my head and come up with the correct answer. For me, this is one of the great changes that has come with aging. I miss that memory, but in its place has come, I think, more understanding of what I was hearing and saying and doing. Peace.

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    1. Dee,
      Holy moly, what an amazing memory. I never came close to that. I do think the exchange we do get as we age is fairly decent. Patience and paying attention more.

      Delete
  17. I use the internet to help me find those lost words or names. My cat, Annie, is no help, either. ;)

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    1. Rita,
      Me too. I also use my blog which really helps with personal events.
      That's cute about Annie. She and Callie went to the same school:))

      Delete
    2. Oh--yes! I have used my blog to find out when this or that happened, too! Quite convenient--if my search thingie worked better, that is--LOL!

      Delete
  18. I think they should have multiple choice Jeopardy for old people. When I forget something I try your system or else I just let it go and it usually comes to me eventually.

    I'm going to worry when the answer comes to me later, and I can't remember the question.

    I agree with the new guy on the show. Ken was not too bad but for some reason I just don't really like him. The producer stepping in was a surprise, and he is pretty good. It does not seem like a difficult job until you see someone do it just a little off.

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    1. joeh,
      Ha ha, I think they call that "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." Nothing like multiple choice and a little time. I record that show so I can fast forward through the dumb questions. Seems I need my remote for both shows.
      I know what you mean about later. It can come to me at really odd times. I too dread the time when I think 'Huh? Mary Bruce--what about her?'
      Know what you mean about Ken. I just couldn't quite get behind him either.

      Delete
  19. I too have the same problem, but don't watch Jeopardy. We do however play a trivia game here called, "I should have known that"... and even when I know an answer, I can't come up with it until someone else says it. Weird. But good to know that others have the same trouble.

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    1. Rian,
      Love the name of your game. That is what I say a lot that I should have known that:)
      Think we are in a not very exclusive group.

      Delete
  20. Oh heaven's yes. And it started long before I reached the age of 60. I once ran into a former employer and introduced to my Dad with the wrong name. He didn't correct me though and I only figured it out when we got to the house and I felt like an idiot. Lorne has been gone for close to 30 years and now I have no problem remembering his name. :)

    As for Jeopardy, I love the show but don't often get the answers correct and those I do generally not as quickly as the contestants. I did appreciate that Alex insisted there be a Canadian question on every episode...I usually go those right.

    Take care, stay well!

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    1. Eileen,
      I have done that too with introductions. Usually I fumble around and don't even use a name. Sigh.
      I always wondered about the amount of Canadian questions. I knew Alex was. I can rarely answer the Canadian ones but am learning about your country through them.

      Delete
  21. I have the most problem with proper nouns, especially the names of plants and people. I used to like to play...damn, the game I can't think of the name of. If I stop thinking about it, it will come, but it will be too late then. :-/

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    1. Linda.
      Know what you mean about plant names. Also agree on whatever I am looking for will eventually surface if I am just patient. I usually can't wait though and will bulldog my way to find it.

      Delete
  22. That is interesting insight your dad had. I am terrible with names. Getting older does not seem to be helping the situation either.

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    1. Sue,
      I was surprised by an interview that Ken Jennings gave. He was actually the oldest Jeopardy contestant ever amd this last go round was 46. He mentioned how it was now so hard for him to quickly come up with an answer and that his reaction time on the buzzer was off. We are in good company.

      Delete
  23. I took a memory class in college, and they told us that the information is all there, but it's the retrieval systems that break down. That's probably why I'm trying to think of something, and wake up with the answer at 3 a.m. I liked Ken Jennings but I do prefer Mike. He's more natural and doesn't appear to try too hard. I'm not very good at Jeopardy, nor do I shine at trivia. I'm excellent at analyzing literature though, which is a completely worthless skill.

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    1. Margaret,
      That explanation makes perfect sense and explains our slow reactions. I have done that 3AM retrieval also:) I usually think,"Now??"

      Delete
  24. I have a terrible time with names, but then again, I always have. It’s just three times worse now and I go through the alphabet too. You’d think I could always rely on Art but he often has the same problem. I do have a word recall problem when I’m writing my blog when I know what word I want... but just can’t remember what it was.

    I agree with you about Mike Richards. I think he’s got just the right personality for the show. I do hope he stays on.

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    1. Kay,
      I would have thought as tuned in as you and Art are that he would be more help. I do the word search when blogging also. I know the perfect word I want is there and usually have to settle with a work around.
      Me too on Mike.

      Delete
  25. We don't have Jeopardy here, but I do find the memory thing to be true when watching other quiz shows.

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    1. River,
      The think about quiz shows is they point out lack of recall in living color. The only good thing is that is is a normal as gray hair.

      Delete
  26. Oh darn! I wrote a longish comment from my ipad this afternoon and I see it didn't post. It's so strange.
    Anyway... I was saying that I definitely have that name recall problem. Problem is Art and I tend to forget the same names which is crazy.

    I also find I have a word retrieval problem which is getting worse. I know what word I want to write in my blog post but that particular word just won't come to me. Aggravation. I do keep writing though hoping that it will exercise my brain so that it keeps working. Fingers crossed. Your mind is working perfectly because your blog posts are absolutely wonderful, Patti!!!

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    1. Kay,
      I got the first one but due to our time difference, I had already put my computer to sleep so I could read my book.
      Thank you for the vote of confidence. I needed that.

      Delete
  27. I've finally given in to it Patti. At 88 years I find that, even when I see the answer in my mind, I can many times not get it out of my mouth. Luckily I can still write and that is a life-saver for me. I tell my friends to email me ... forget the phone! I feel under pressure when I need to answer questions or keep up a conversation on the phone and that will depress me so I use it as seldom as possible.

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    1. Ginnie,
      Wonder if they have an online Jeopardy. That would work for us both. I'd have time and you could write it out.

      Delete
  28. Oh the long pause for a word. Sometimes it is the next day. My best (phone) friend does this often and begins sentences by saying "You know that guy?" No hints, nothing except "sure you do, the one in that program." All I cam say is I love her And careful questioning will weasel something out. But even if I see the face I still don't know the name either. OMG.

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    1. Celia,
      We really have to use all our tools to communicate these days. An extensive synonym library in our heads or a good friend to confuse. The fact that it is so common makes me laugh before I panic.

      Delete
  29. Sadly my sloth memory has always been a little slower than most. If my brain was a browser everyone else is Chrome and I'd be Internet Explorer. :D

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  30. I can so relate, Patti. Of course it helps that I am in the same age group, one that is allowed to actually forget things and not be looked at like we are ready for dementia care. :-)

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    1. Djan,
      Ah isn't it nice to be surrounded by like, understanding minds? We get to laugh, not worry.

      Delete
  31. Good Post, Patti.... My biggest fear is losing my memory as I continue to age.... I am constantly reading, doing tedious work online which requires my brain to function. So far---so good, even though those little lapses of memory really upset me at times. George is extremely smart --so he's my go-to person when I can't remember something... He's slow to speak and process --but he can usually figure something out when he's had a few minutes to think about it... I have the hardest times with numbers/dates... I was a math minor in college --but can't do much math at all in my head now... Have to write it down.... AND --if someone asks me what I was doing in 1970, I have to stop and think... My middle son was born that year, so that can help jog my memory of those years living in Maryville, TN and teaching music and math at West High School in Knoxville. My love of photography has really helped job my memory--as I look back at old photos...WELL--This is long enough (too long) so I'll stop....

    Now--tell me what's your name????? ha ha ha
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Betsy,
      I am glad you have George to find those elusive words for you.
      As a funny friend of mine once said when she was asked the "name" question in jest--"How soon do you need to know?" she quipped.

      Delete
  32. I got nothing for you. I've pretty much given up when I can not remember a name or a word. I just cry uncle and move on.
    The only bright spot in this whole mess...I still have no problem finding the word I want when dreaming. Although I don't remember many of my dreams so that makes the test group a bit small.

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    1. GQ,
      Interesting. Me too in dreams I don't flounder for words and can also run like a rabbit and never huff for breath. Cool.

      Delete
  33. The MRI of the brain that I just had showed my brain had shrunk....which is normal the doc said. Yours may have shrunk too, and that compression may be why you have trouble fining the answers. They are compressed.

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    1. Mage,
      Interesting about the shrinking brain. I know my spine has dropped a inch so why not the brain?

      Delete

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