My grandma is almost 90 years old! 90... That's pretty freaking awesome, and in my opinion; she's still doing really well. She has the occasional set back, but at 90, who wouldn't?
I'm only 24 years old, and yet somehow I still seem to forget I already told my mom two times about how my dog dropped her favorite toy in the water bowl then pulled it out soaking wet only to continue whipping it around and drench the entire kitchen.
I seem to forget things a lot actually-so obviously I try to remind myself of this when it comes to my grandma declining a bit with her own memory.
There are stories that those close to her have probably heard 4, 5 or even 6 times. There are gifts she's never remembered getting, and voicemails she doesn't remember leaving.
There are things she's been asked to avoid talking about that she of course had slip her mind, and she's talked about anyway.
There's money she's lost, stove's she's accidentally left on, and grandchildren she forgets she just got off the phone with.
I use to really get upset by this. I'd think for hours about how I could justify it to myself and others.
"Well I got her this gift year's ago, of course she wouldn't remember. It's just a small little thing...hell I probably wouldn't remember either if I were her."
"Sometimes after I'm done cooking I get so excited to eat that I temporarily forget that my stove is on. No biggie...unless a fire happens....and it hasn't....so.....I'm sure that's the same with Gram. I'm almost positive that's how it is."
The thing is-the justifications began to seem harder and harder. Especially as years passed and it got more frequent. It got to a point I was trying so hard to make excuses for why my Gram was forgetting that I started stressing myself out about what she could/could not remember. I was spending so much of my free time worried about my grandma instead of just being appreciative my grandma was still here to worry about.
I had to tell myself over and over:
This. Will. Not. Get. Better.
In fact? It'll probably only get worse. So I can either spend the remainder of my Gram's life obsessing over what she can't remember or be grateful for the things she does.
Your elders will forget things. Accept this. Be patient. Be kind. Be to them the way you'd hope your kids would be to you when you get to that stage.
Because what kind of person would I be if I said-
"Grandma, I already told you this!"
"We've talked about this 5 times already!"
I would never-nor could ever hold the fact that my grandma is starting to really forget things-over her head. At least she is HERE to have the chance to forget.
Because honestly? I'd tell her hundreds of thousands of times that my dog's name is Neva, my job requires me to work with computers, and yes I do really enjoy it. I'd tell her that all of those times because I love her, she would do it for me, she's my grandma, and she doesn't deserve the insecurities that follow with knowing you're losing your memory.
No amount of time reminding my grandma of these things could ever annoy me or aggravate me. Why should they?
Why would having to remind someone of something repeatedly annoy you if they're older? Wouldn't it just make you feel bad for them? Don't you think if this person could remember everything they wanted to, they would? It's not like your elder is choosing to ignore you or paying attention to something else. They're forgetting because of old age, so if you have to fight your annoyance down with one reminder-try that because clearly something must change.
And ask yourself-when they're gone, wouldn't you wish you had a little more patience and less irritation?
Lastly, don't you think the very last thing they need is having someone they love make them feel like shit for asking a question they probably had to fight themselves to ask for a 5th time?
Me personally? I don't get annoyed I have to remind my older grandmother of things she forgets. Because I know I'm just lucky enough to have a grandma at all. One who still remembers my nickname when I was three, that I have multiple holes in my baby blankey, and my favorite place to go when I visit my gram is the pet store.
I justify to myself now that it's okay my grandma forgets because that just means I'm lucky enough to have spent these years of her life with her. These moments remind me to be patient and to remind my gram when she needs it. She was there for me, it only seems fair I return the favor.
I will not:
Belittle her for forgetting.
Roll my eyes when she asks again-for a third time.
And I surely would never treat her like a child because she needs a little more help than she once did.
I take pride in many things and my grandma is and will forever be my favorite one (memory or not).