Memory Etiquette

Sometimes you may come across a situation where a person is complaining about their memory or perhaps talking about someone they know who seems to be more forgetful or occasionally confused.

How would you want someone to handle that situation if it was you?  All of us have complaints about thinking of a name or misplacing items. Just last night I was talking to a friend about someone doing work in my yard and I drew a total blank on his name. Then there was an item my friend misplaced and found in a very odd location later that day. What matters is to be aware of when it might be necessary to take another step, learn what changes you might need to take more seriously and resources that might be appropriate.

Maybe the person complaining about their memory needs to start by scheduling a complete physical. There are more that 100 reversible causes of memory loss. One man I knew from a group I belonged to told me he did that and his doctor told him he was young and not to worry about. My suggestion was that he should seek another opinion. He was in his early 60’s so I suggested that he consider a geriatric assessment. What is important here is that it is better to learn what might be going on so that measures can be taken proactively.  Perhaps it is depression or a need for a better diet, sleep and more exercise.

If you belong to a group and are noticing a decline with a particular member, perhaps sharing your concerns collectively with the head of the group could be a starting place. Then someone who might best have the skills to handle the delicate situation can either speak to the person or perhaps contact a family member. Frequently family is out of town and may not be aware of the changes unless they visit often and for more than a few days.


Learn more for yourself and so you can provide resources or appropriate suggestions and comments to others when appropriate. Read the information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association or take a look at the extensive series of articles and blogs I have written on these topics. If you are having some irritating memory glitches, review some of the blogs that I have been written and come up with a plan or seek additional guidance.

To teach is to understand. To learn is wisdom. To learn together is understanding wisdom. Sid Mendenhall

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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