If you are a woman experiencing menopause and think you are “losing it” you probably are, at least in some ways.
Researchers have now determined that the forgetfulness that many women report is real, and may have to do with the way the brain encodes information.
Fortunately, this problem doesn’t seem related to the Alzheimer’s memory deficits that so many people fear, and it doesn’t mean that women so affected cannot learn new information.
Of course, since women are usually the organizers in their families, a bit more chaos may ensue around things like family events or vacations, when their skills have usually kept things running smoothly for the enjoyment of their family members. So, how can a harried woman, who thinks she’s losing her mind, actually retain her sanity while orchestrating a summer vacation for her family in the midst of menopausal meltdown?
As with all events, developing a plan is important, and pen and paper are your friends. A little advance planning can save your sanity, especially if you are now prone to bouts of “brain fog.”
In her book, “Sink Reflections,” Marla Cilley, also known as Fly Lady, breaks things down into manageable segments: things to do before you pack, things you’ll need to pack, things to do before you leave, and things to do when you get home. Cilley, is the guru of an online self help site, FlyLady.net, that helps people develop habits that help them organize their homes and lives.
Some of the things on her vacation check list 1 are: arranging for pet care or boarding, servicing the car, having mail picked up while you’re gone.
On List two, we find: check your itinerary so you’ll know how to dress, and thus what clothing to take for each family member; fill a “bathroom bag” for each person with toiletries, medications and first aid supplies; each family member has an index card on which you record what you need to pack for them, and you check the items off as they are packed.
List three includes things to do before you leave, such as: leave the house clean with clean sheets on all beds – it feels good to come home to clean!
Be sure that appliances are unplugged, and think about making sure the circuit breaker for the hot water tank is shut off (why pay for fuel to heat water that you won’t be using?). List 4 is for things to do when you get home: unpack right away and start a load of wash; turn appliances back on. The book also has a checklist guide for what to pack.
For those with menopausal memory, but a larger pocketbook, a concierge vacation service might be just the thing to help with the actual vacation planning. Such services book everything for you: luxury hotels; chefs; chauffeurs; spa services; tee times; theater tickets, etc.
For those who prefer to come home to an organized home, there are professional organizers who can help people revamp their surroundings to be more stress free.
Come to think of it, paying an organizer to simplify your life might even make for a great “staycation” – after all, aren’t vacations about relaxation without having to remember the details of the daily grind?
Anne Springer is the public relations director of SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann’s local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.