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November 26, 2012

Are You Still Laughing? Then You Are Not Old!

I reluctantly joined the club my sister refers to as the "I Can't Remember Sh*T Club" years ago, and I daresay I'm not alone. Groucho Marx famously opined, "I don't care to belong to any club that would have me as a member." But join this club we do, because like it or not, while we may get wiser as we age, we also tend to forget sh*t.

But as the children of an aging parent with dementia, my sister and I worry about our occasional memory lapses. We first noticed that dad's baseline absent-mindedness (like calling me by our dog's name) had shifted to something more ominous ten years ago. Dad got lost driving home from the local grocery store and forgot to pay the bills -- both behaviors very atypical for him. While my sister and I enjoy laughing at each other's "I can't remember sh*t" moments, there is a more serious underlying issue at play. When we walk into a room and can't remember what we are looking for, or when we see an old friend in the supermarket and are horrified that we can't remember her name, we worry: Are we are losing our memory?

Recently I watched a movie on Netflix and realized half way through that I had seen it before. While disconcerting, it is not the same as forgetting how to drive or getting lost on my way home. And yet, how much control do we have of our destinies -- or our genes at this point?

If you're a current, or shall we say aspiring, member of the "I can't remember sh*t club," there are a few things you should know:

To read more of this post from Jody Gastfriend, LICSW, read her blog at





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