top of page
  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Lemon Memories

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and forgetfulness?

It’s tough to see a parent age. Beyond the physical changes—faces thin, hair grays and balds, eyes weaken, fingers stiffen—are the emotional implications of once dominant personalities becoming forgetful, slow and indecisive.

How can you know that what you’re witnessing is normal aging and not dementia?

My in-laws just left after a tremendous three-week visit during which they were present at their grandson’s wedding, and spent time with three of their children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren here in Israel. How amazing is that?

We spent a few evenings playing one of their favorite card games called Hand and Foot. It’s a strange game which involves the use of one deck per player. When you have six or eight players, it makes for a lot of laughs. The thing is my mother-in-law is becoming forgetful. She’ll tell you, too, that her memory isn’t what it used to be. She sometimes asks the same question in quick succession. Or she forgets details about what we’re doing.

When I sat in the living room with both my mom and mother-in-law, I was struck again by the severity of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a pernicious disease that robs you of your independence and your intellect. Forgetfulness is an annoying aspect of growing old.

When Mom hugged me and said she couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen me (last week) or thought that changing her underwear meant putting on a clean pair over the two she was already wearing, I smiled and stayed calm. And I reminded myself that Mom can’t help it. It’s not her fault.

Although there is a sea of difference between dementia and forgetfulness, that’s something that they have in common. It’s not their fault. Don’t get angry at your parent for not remembering. It’s not their fault.

Saying it helps me stay calm. It’s not their fault. Be kind. Answer the same question again. And again and again. It’s not their fault. Your anger makes the situation worse. It’s really not their fault.

Writing that is a hell of a lot easier than doing it. If you’re in a similar situation, take a deep breathe and say it to yourself. If you lose your temper, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty more opportunities to react differently. (Sigh.) Just keep trying.

Here’s a link to a site that says it all:

12 Signs You Probably Don’t Have Alzheimer’s

There’s less to worry about than you think.

by Paula Spencer Scott, Senior Editor,


Lemon Roast Chicken

My mother-in-law loves lemons. She drinks fresh lemon juice in her water. She squeezes it on fish. Her favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie. It’s a good thing winter in Israel is citrus season. Lemon trees are bursting with fruit, including the one in our yard. In honor of my mother-in-law’s visit, we made Lemon Roast Chicken. The sauce is enough for two whole chickens.

1 whole chicken

1 lemon scored with a fork

½ cup oil

½ cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp date honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp curry

1 tsp granulated garlic

½ tsp ginger


Place whole chicken in a roasting pan. Puncture lemon with a knife in four or five places and stuff inside the chicken’s cavity. Mix oil, lemon and spices together and pour over chicken, including in the cavity. Place in oven on 350° and cook for 1½ hours uncovered. When chicken is cooled, cut into pieces. Remove lemon, slice and place on top of chicken pieces as decoration. (It may be easier to cut the lemon with scissors.) Use the pan drippings to make gravy in a small pot by adding 1 Tbsp flour and a little water to the mixture. Heat before serving.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page