Before MCI and dementia set in, my most recent career was consulting with businesses and organizations regarding employee and manager relations. One of the consistently helpful and popular presentations I did was on the topic of “Pilers and Filers.” I focused on this topic because it was a universal pain point for employees and manager.
The terms seem obvious; there are those of us who keep an orderly environment—both at home and at work—who embrace “putting things in their places.” These Filers have clean desks, labeled files, and rarely leave for the night without having tidied up.
The Pilers are obviously the opposite. Their desks are stacked with piles of papers, scattered notes, and perhaps miscellaneous gadgets or trinkets.
After asking my clients to identify their “styles,” we collectively made lists of the positives and negatives of filing, and repeated the same for piling.
In almost all sessions the participants commented on helpful this session was, and often recognized that they often married their opposites! Which is the same for Keith and me.
I’m the Filer, he’s the Piler. We created a compromise that worked for us: I don’t disturb Keith’s desk or office, and he doesn’t disturb my writing space or housekeeping. This arrangement worked great for years…until I got dementia.
I’m still a filer, mind you—but I’m a filer with a really, really, bad recall, which seems to worsen as each day passes. However, Keith’s recall is amazing. He seems to know where everything is without hesitation, and gently points to the ‘place.’ This partnership doesn’t just deal solely with item locations; it is especially helpful and necessary for appointments, arrival times of guests, plans made to visit friends (pre-COVID), pill taking, and various other logistics and reminders.
During the early days of my memory loss I resented his assistance, but these days I seek it, I need it, and I rely on it. Without Keith’s help I could no longer stay in my home of 30+ years, which I dread to even think about.
I do think I may have posted something similar to this in the past, but I don’t recall (a word I use often) that I wrote about the labels attached to these gifts.
Finally, before I close I want to offer a gigantic thank you to those who send me notes regarding my posts, I treasure them and always welcome suggestions. Perhaps some are interested in Keith’s comments?