Short-term Memory, Confusion, Dependence

Although I have mentioned for months (years?) that Kate’s short-term memory is going, my words are unable to capture how poor it is. For example, yesterday she put her yard clippers in the right hand side pocket of the passenger door. I asked if she thought we could remember where she had put them. She said, “I’ll remember.” Then she paused a second and said, “I don’t even remember right now.” I probed, and she hadn’t remembered.

We also had one of our more common experiences yesterday. This time it was she who was talking about someone. Then I said something about that person. She didn’t know who I was talking about and, once again, thought that I was being unclear.

Some confusion is not new, for example, she still asks if we are “staying here” tonight. Yesterday she also showed me her clippers after coming inside and asked what I wanted her to do with them. I told her she could keep them in the garage where she usually keeps them. It was clear that she didn’t remember. I asked if she would like me to put them up. She did.

Along with the confusion, she is giving up some of her independence and frequently asks for permission to do various things. Most often that means working outside. It also occurs in the evening before we go to bed. She is usually in her chair and I in mine. A typical example would be that she asks, “What do you want me to do now?” I might answer that it is getting time for bed and that she could put on her night clothes. Occasionally, she really surprises me during the day when she asks that question. Sometimes I tell her she could work on her iPad. Then she does. Since she works on it so much, it always seems strange that she would accept my suggestion as though she had never thought of it herself.

On several recent nights, she has either asked if I would get her a night gown or readily accepted if I asked if she wanted me to get her something to wear to bed.