Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

Why Memory Is One of The Biggest Concerns For Canadians

Brain Sand Timer

Everyone is afraid of something. For many of us, that is losing someone we love or getting sick. It may even have to do with heights or small spaces.... but did you know memory loss is one of the biggest health fears facing Canadians today? It comes second only to the big C, cancer. Since we rely on our brains to get us through the workday, to communicate with our loved ones, and to function independently, it's not hard to figure out why this fear has run rampant. Our memory shapes who we are and our place in the world. So, let's take a closer look at memory - and why we're so afraid of losing it.

We can't remember everything. Even people with the sharpest brains forget short-term information or things from their past. This is totally normal. However, in society today, forgetfulness is seen as failure. It is no wonder we are thought to fighting "a war against forgetfulness." If we can't remember where that grocery list went or where we parked the car, there is an implication that we are lacking in some way. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, when those small and insignificant moments of forgetfulness occur, they instil a sense of fear in us. Why is this the case? As a whole, Canadians are terrified of losing their memory...and the independence that goes along with it.

This may have to do with the stigma associated with certain brain disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Many people believe that forgetfulness or memory loss of any kind means losing their quality of life. That alone causes people to keep memory loss quiet or put off getting treatment, even if it does become necessary. The fear is that being forgetful may lead to, or signal, a serious brain disease. This issue is becoming more prevalent as we live longer, grow older, and take in more information than ever before.

Thanks to technological advances and social media, men and women of all ages are constantly being bombarded with news, facts, pictures, lists, and so on. It's on our TV screens, tablets, smart phones, and anything else you could imagine. With so much information out there, it is impossible to remember everything! If that wasn't enough, there are also passwords, pin numbers, codes, and a million other things to remember each and every day. This can amplify feelings of forgetfulness, create an inability to focus, and make it harder to navigate the wealth information that surrounds us. Once we reach later life, coping can feel even more challenging.

It's pretty clear why Canadians are afraid of failing memory. No one wants to fall behind in a time where information is everything - and everywhere. Poor memory or bouts of forgetfulness can make it difficult to keep up in an-ever changing world. Add that to the stigma related to memory loss and memory related brain diseases, and there are plenty of reasons to worry about the future. While memory loss is undoubtedly serious, it's time to stop living in fear and start changing the way we look at forgetfulness.

Dr. David Tal has more than twenty years of clinical experience. He strongly believes that medical treatment can improve the life of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Loss patients.