According to an article I found on the Patient Education website for Harvard Medical School, our memories and abilities to remember really do decline as we age. Our procedural memories—things such as riding a bike or knowing how to toss a ball—are not lost during the brain’s natural aging process.
Some memories do fade.
We lose our sense of direction.
Declarative memories fade. We forget where we left out keys yesterday. We confuse birthdays.
One of my dear friends has a mother suffering the onset of severe dementia. Her brain has gone beyond simple forgetfulness to a point of absurdity. She sometimes complains that it has been snowing in her room. She is pleased that a stuffed toy dog that she keeps in her room has never “made a mess” in her apartment, but she does not appreciate that it yips from time to time.
This all seems a bit sad, if not cruel. This is especially true for all those friends and loved ones observing.
To fade is one thing. To watch a loved one fade is another.