Early Onset Alzheimer’s – Encourage, Inspire, and Inform: Stretching My Brain

During last
week’s jam session, my brother asked me to sing and to play a song on my
ukulele without looking at the music. “You’ve played this song enough times
that you shouldn’t have to look at your Kindle.”

sure I had that deer in the headlights look since I knew I was going to flunk
this pop quiz. We have the lyrics with chord changes on our electronic devices so
that we all are “on the same page” literally. I never thought to mention that
when we play at the nursing homes, Jimmy always tells me to concentrate on
singing and to put my ukulele aside so I’m not distracted.


sure learning to play my songs without the “cheat” sheet would be a good way to
stretch my brain. I’m beginning to think that my brain is suffering from a lack
of use.


A few
days ago, I found the applesauce in the bathroom. “Is there a reason you put
the applesauce in the bathroom?” I asked my husband.


didn’t put it there,” Harold replied.


“I was
afraid you hadn’t,” I said. “Maybe the dog did it.” Talk about clutching at


Harold was cooking hamburger and asked me to put out some pita bread to thaw
and get the taco seasoning. I handed him the taco seasoning and went back to
what I was doing.


you put the pita bread out?” he asked.


rang a bell with me. Oh, my. I learned not to ask Jim to do more than one thing
at a time because if I asked him to do two things, he only remembered the
second one.


frustrating to forget what I went into a room to do, but fortunately, not
necessarily a symptom of Alzheimer’s. Could I blame it on normal aging? 

With my
arthritic knees, I’ve learned to wait a few beats before I give up on the
reason behind going into another room. It is better to stop and think than to
painfully, slowly retrace my steps. But, then again, it may be the “while I’m
here” distraction that makes me forget the reason why I’m there in the first


After a
year of inactivity, I’m still not operating at full speed. My calendar has
entries for meetings, Zoom calls, and appointments. I’m using all my brain
power to try to remember when and where I’m supposed to be.


definitely need to stretch my brain because if I don’t use it I may lose it.
Throughout the week between one jam session and another, I occasionally picked
up my uke and worked on that song my brother thought I could play without


At our
jam session this week, I only missed one chord change and knew it immediately.
I stopped and said, “I missed that change.”


are supposed to keep on playing and singing. Most people will never notice the
mistake,” my brother said.


Yes, I
need to keep on going. As long as I realize that I’ve made a mistake, I’ll
consider that’s a good sign. I’ve been stretching my brain to try to figure out
how the applesauce ended up in the bathroom. 
One thing I know for sure—the dog didn’t do it.


© June 2021 by L.S. Fisher



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