When we are born, we cry to be fed, cuddled and loved, or have our nappies changed. Then we start to crawl and walk, and ultimately have to remember how to do it. It’s not long before our parents start reading to us, hoping it will make us intelligent. Then comes the books for us to learn to read, the cards with letters and matching pictures, helping us to remember them. The stories written in big print allowing us to remember the makeup of the letters we have learnt by remembering, to form words. Then we start school and start the rote learning of numbers, tables, equations and so on, all requiring we use our memory. And then we have exams, requiring us to use our memories to learn for them. We might choose learn an instrument which requires the use of our memory. Or another language, which requires the use of our memory.
As our lives progress through school the use of our memory is required more and more, culminating in final Year 12 exams, relying almost entirely on our ability to remember (recall or regurgitate facts and figures). Then entrance to university, based almost entirely on the scores we get in Year 12, meaning our memory or ability to recall information is imperative especially is someone wants to get into a higher degree like medicine. And then a career, where our memory is a significant part of what is needed to hold down our jobs.
Dementia for most people brings with it the disability of memory loss, which impairs our ability to participate fully in so many activities, and usually impacts our ability to stay employed. Debilitating? Yes. Do we feel distressed when someone says to us, but I forget things occasionally too? Yes. Do we miss our memory? Yes. Not remembering is a significant loss to people with dementia or other neurological diseases causing it, and finding ways to overcome and accommodate memory impairment is imperative to our emotional well being. We are told to remember almost every day of our life, so not remembering is foreign and tedious!