What is memory?
The nature of our work means we face this question every day. What is memory, anyway?
On the one hand, we know exactly what it is. Memory is a faculty of the brain. It is the means by which we encode, store, and retrieve data, as and when we need it. Memory is how we retain and process information over time, and it helps us make decisions in the future.
When all of the connections in our brains are running as they should, we are unconsciously gathering and storing useful information from our environment 24/7. This sensory processing helps us to navigate our world. We remember things in the short term, and in the long term. We remember that fire burns, how to use a light switch, to look before we cross the road. We remember to feed the dog, to put out the bins, to turn off the cooker. We remember our first kiss, the day we got married, our children taking their first steps.
The tapestry of who we are is woven with the thread of our memories. Memory is the sum of our actions and our experiences, and it makes us who we are. So, what happens when your memory starts to fade?
Sadly, memory loss is the reality for many of the people who live here at Bloomfield, and it is devastating. Hand in hand with forgetfulness can come the knowledge and the dread that there is worse to come, that the memories held precious today may be out of reach tomorrow. For family and friends, there is the fear that as recollection falters, their faces will be among the memories lost.
For the rest of November, we will be shining a light on memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dementia. You can help us in our work with those affected by making a donation; by keeping up with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; and by fundraising for us.