Björn Ulvaeus’ health: ‘I have extremely few memories’ – ABBA star talks about severe memory loss
Rising to fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, ABBA is releasing even more music with their first album in 40 years, Voyage, which will be released in November 2021. The album accompanies a concert residency featuring the band in as virtual avatars – ABBAtars – held in London from May to December this year. Looking back on her career in 2008, Ulvaeus revealed more about her memory loss struggles, after revealing that “it’s like [he] wasn’t even there” for the most part. After divorcing his bandmate Agnetha Faltskog in 1980 and marrying Swedish music journalist Lena Kallersjo – from whom he also recently separated – it was reported that Ulvaeus spent hours studying old photographs and videos to trying to piece together his old life.
“People ask me if I’m going to write my memoirs. But even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to. I have extremely few memories,” Ulvaeus said shortly after the release of Mamma Mia!
After the film’s release, the four members reunited for the first time in 22 years, sparking rumors of a reunion.
But unable to recall memories of his past career, the singer-songwriter struggles to tell the difference between the truth and what he was told.
Speaking about the aftermath of ABBA’s famous Eurovision win, the singer said: “Many remember that exact moment, where they were, what they did and even how they felt.
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“But not me.
“It’s amazing, but I don’t remember ever being on stage. It’s like I wasn’t even there.
“In interviews I’ve said my pants were so tight I couldn’t even sit on the bus to get to the arena.
“But honestly, I don’t know if it’s true or if it was someone who told me about it.”
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Walker Methodist – an organization for older people – explains that long-term memory refers to the part of our memory that stores names and anecdotes over a long period of time. It is also related to knowing how to perform daily and functional tasks.
It differs from short-term memory because it is simply the ability to remember recent events and facts.
Short-term memory loss means that someone has trouble remembering things they have heard, seen, or learned recently. This can include forgetting where you put your keys last night or being unable to remember someone’s name after you met.
The Mayo Clinic explains that memory loss can be a fairly common part of aging, but this type of memory loss doesn’t prevent you from living a full and productive life.
Spotting that someone is suffering from long-term memory loss may mean that you notice that they are:
- Forget childhood memories
- Forgetting the names of siblings or school friends
- Forget common words
- Get lost in familiar places
- Increased irritability
- Mood swings
- Get confused doing basic routine tasks.
Sometimes long-term memory loss can be treated because the cause is reversible. These treatable causes include stress, anxiety or depression, B-12 deficiency, medications, and sleep problems.
In some cases, continued use of drugs and alcohol can also lead to memory loss and usually worsens the longer the substances are used.
In other cases, long-term memory loss may be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease – an irreversible progressive disease.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of symptoms including impairment of memory, reasoning, judgment, language and other thinking skills.
Dementia usually begins gradually and gets worse over time, impairing a person’s abilities at work, social interactions, and relationships.
If you or someone you know is concerned about memory loss, it is recommended that you seek professional medical advice. Several tests will determine the degree of memory impairment and diagnose the cause.
In some cases, changing medications or using therapy to help people remember certain things can be used to treat and hopefully cure long-term memory loss. But for people with dementia, drugs are used to slow the progression of symptoms and reduce the risk of further brain damage.