Same Answers = Unreliable Memory

Now lets just call it an Unreliable Memory.

Over time, I’ve come to realise that when the answers are the same on 3 or more occasions, it is probably an Unreliable Memory.

For example:

Me: Have you watered the plants today, mom?

Mom, with certainty: Oh yes! I have!

Me: When did you do it?

Mom, hesitating: About four plus.

Now, the above conversation was repeated in identical fashion days apart. After the third time, I figured I was dealing with an Unreliable Memory, especially since the plants would look rather droopy. So I would add: It’s such a hot day, mom, better water one more time.

Looking back, I regret that there were probably many more Unreliable Memories that I did not recognise at the time.

Me: What do you do during the week, mom?

Mom: Oh, I go to church! Everyday.

Me: How do you go?

Mom: Oh I have this friend who comes, and we go for Mass, and after that we go for breakfast, sometimes we have noodle, sometimes we have flour cakes.

Me: Oh who is she? What’s her name?

And mom cannot remember her name. Details were sketchy. I asked, Does she work? Is she married? What do you talk about? What about her family? Answers were evasive.

There was a period when it seemed to me the friend had stopped coming, and suddenly she made a reappearance. The conversation above repeated itself. This time, I asked if she was the same friend from the year before. And the answer was evasive.

As I grew more concerned, I asked mom, Have you eaten? What did you have for lunch?

I would have a sense of deja vu each time she answered the same way. Yet she seemed so sure and reassuring that I put my worries aside.

If she did not have the little stroke and end up living with me, I shudder to think how much worse things might have gotten. Now I see her having regular meals, rounding up back to “normal” and looking more youthful.

So I have learnt, I know better, I watch out for the Unreliable Memory, and try to teach my family how to go around it carefully, and kindly.


2 thoughts on “Same Answers = Unreliable Memory”

    1. It is easier to keep an eye out for her. Unfortunately there have been more opportunities for miscommunication amongst the caregivers while we learn – we need to keep each other updated all the time and not rely on her memory.


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