When I was a teenager, my grandmother developed dementia. Back then it was just called “hardening of the arteries.” I remember her giving away family heirlooms, walking out the front door and down the street when called for dinner, and not knowing our names at times. And as my own mother approaches the age when we lost my grandma, I’ve started paying close attention for signs of the same disease.
I would bet we all know someone who has suffered from memory loss, be it dementia or Alzheimer’s, either directly or through close friends. A good friend watched his mother decline rapidly from early-onset Alzheimer’s. It’s heartbreaking and devastating, and of course we all worry that one day, we too will forget our loved ones.
I’ve loved all of Lisa Genova’s books, so when I saw her newest book, Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting, is a non-fiction book about memory, I knew I had to request it from NetGalley.
Remember is broken up into 3 parts – what is memory, why we forget, and how we can improve our memory. I enjoyed learning about the different types of memory, how memories are formed, and the anecdotes about people who’ve suffered head injuries affecting their memories.
The section on why we forget is both informative and reassuring. It especially made me feel better knowing that misplacing items, being unable to come up with a word, and when my husband and I have completely different memories of an event are all completely normal and not signs of Alzheimer’s.
As for how to improve memory, there are a few things we can do, but I was surprised to learn that sleep is the most important thing. Of course now I have something else to worry about while I lie awake in the middle of the night…