Ch.56 Short- and Long-Term Memory Loss

Ch.56   Short- and Long-Term Memory Loss

April 2020

          I asked Pat what she thought of the movie we’d seen together the day before. “What movie?” she asked. It took several prompts from me – the movie’s name, who was in it, the plot – before she recalled it, and even then, her memory was vague. Unfortunately, this kind of episode has become more frequent over the last couple months, enough so that Pat told me she has become concerned about her short-term memory. Fortunately, her long-term memory is mostly intact with the exception that she sometimes mixes together events that were actually separated in time (but then, so do I, I’m sure).

          Yesterday my caregiver support group had a virtual Zoom meeting (We are still in Covid-19 virus shelter-in-place-land here in Wisconsin). I asked the other participants about memory loss with their spouses or parents who have Lewy Body. The results were interesting and as usual described the great variances among people with that diagnosis. One person reported no memory loss; two said their loved one had short term issues; one member stated that her husband only had long-term memory loss; two people reported that their Lewy Body partner had both short- and long-term memory problems. Let me note that memory loss is usually listed in the professional literature as possible but not a defining characteristic of Lewy Body while of course memory loss is the defining sign of Alzheimer’s Disease. Also, you may know already that short-and long-term memories are stored in separate places in the brain so they can be affected differently by injuries or disease.

          I have observed that occasionally Pat asks a question about a concern such as when we are going driving today that I had answered only a little while before. I don’t know if she didn’t really hear my initial response or if she had heard it but couldn’t retain the information. But she remembers far better than does one of our good friends who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and who might ask the same question two or three times during a one-hour discussion. My hope, of course, is that Pat will be able to retain most of her memory capacity, both short- and long-term, even with Lewy Body.


Pat’s comments about Short- and long-Term Memory Loss:

          Yeah, I do think I’ll be able to retain my memories. Sometimes I do have memory loss and sometimes I don’t. I think my short-term memory losses are becoming fewer because I’m more aware of it. I just think more and they come back to me.