The residents of our CCRC each have a copy of a book containing the names, location, phone#, e-mail and photo of all the other residents. This same information is also available on our resident website. The book is updated with inserts about every six months.  The website is updated almost daily. This information can be a huge blessing, especially after having had a nice conversation with someone whose’s name you can’t remember and they are not wearing their nametag.

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I have difficulty remembering faces.

So, let’s go back to those days of yesteryear when I didn’t have the excuse of age for my poor memory. 

My across-the-narrow-street neighbor, along with her cat, and I often chatted on the sidewalk. Occasionally we would be in each other’s house, but the sidewalk was our most frequent meeting place. She was the more senior in terms of residency and we bonded quickly when she discovered that her cat liked me. (This reminds me of a story about my daughter, her cat, and her boyfriend – later). Then one day as I crossed to her side of the street, she said, “Why were you so rude to me yesterday?”   I was totally confused and embarrassed.  It turns out that I walked right past her in the supermarket and ignored her as she started to say “hi”.   I did not recognize her. She was out of context – the context I need in order to recognize people.  I do remember hairstyles, walking gaits, posture, even coats, – but not faces.  Neighbor understood and forgave me my trespasses.  There is a name for this kind of peculiar problem – prosopagnosia. I’m in good company. Brad Pitt claims to have the same problem. 

Therefore, the next time you think someone may have snubbed you, be kind.  Perhaps you changed your hair, or were in a different place, or, or…

Ok, ok, I’ll tell you about my daughter, her cat, and her boyfriend -the short version. When daughter was in college, she adopted a kitten. Whenever she mentioned a new boyfriend, I asked if the cat liked him. Usually it was “No, she scratched him” or “She ran away and hid”.  Daughter graduated, got a job, and moved but the cat was a constant. Then a new boyfriend arrived on the scene. I asked the same question. “Oh! The cat really loves him”, she said.  “He’s a keeper”, I said.  They married and the cat survived until the birth of their second child. Then they adopted a dog.

Gee, maybe if people weren’t so clean I could identify them by smell like the dog does. 

Betty Ago


Betty is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale entry fee communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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