Is it just me or does everyone think they might be going mad?
This week I left the office, for a meeting, only to turn around five minutes later to get a document I needed from my desk. When I got back to work the document wasn’t on my desk. That’s because I had it in my brief case the whole time. When I finally arrived at the meeting, late, I had forgotten my reading glasses and my computer.
Twice a week I go to the car without getting my keys off the hook. But apparently I’m fine. Apparently I’m just middle aged, busy and overloaded by technology.
My mum is 78 and she wakes up most mornings and says something like, “It’s your cousin Cait’s birthday today.’ Her memory is extraordinary. She can tell me when we last went to a restaurant, what weekend it rained enough to fill the tanks and name the children of most B grade celebrities in Australia.
My memory has never been like that. And for a few years I have secretly worried about early onset Alzheimer’s, the good news is I only suffer paranoid hypochondria.
Doctors call people like me the ‘worried well’. Apparently turning circles in the supermarket or forgetting who is home for dinner tonight does not mean you’re losing it, merely shedding information your brain deems non-essential.
I read this week about the island of Ikaria in Greece.
This little paradise is home to the longest livers in the world. And they’ve caught the attention of scientists because not only do they live to be more than 100, the good folk of Ikaria appear to be healthy, mentally fit and sexually satisfied.
Heart disease and cancer are rare on Ikaria, dementia and Alzheimer’s are unheard of.
Their secret is simplicity. Everyone on Ikaria grows their own food, physically labouring into old age. They don’t mind a roll in the hay, but no one takes holidays, watches TV or sits for hours on the computer.
The good news is, you and I are OK. My doctor described it to me like this, “If you can’t remember what you had for dinner last night. You’re OK. If you just ate lunch but keep asking when lunch is coming, come back and see me.” Simple as that.
The real warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease are about functionality. When we forget how the phone works, where the milk is kept, or where we live, it’s time to talk to the experts.
In the meantime, I’d like to send a message to my busy brain. When you’re deciding what information is essential and what needs to be culled, just a tip, I do need my glasses and my computer. All the time. Keys would be handy too. Thanks in advance.