Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Memory and the Elderly

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Memory and the Elderly

Article excerpt

Memory and the Elderly

Is senility inevitable if you live long enough? For some, yes. For many, it depends upon their general health, mental activity, and heredity.

Myths about old age persist, that memory goes into serious decline when a person reaches seventy or eighty. Many people in their thirties and forties are frozen in panic when they experience memory lapse.

Fortunately, more men and women are reaching these "twilight" years and proving themselves to be bright, alert, even productive. Their numbers are large enough to dispense with the word "exceptions."

It is true that neurons continue to disappear as we age. The fact ignores how many brain cells the brain contains: we possess so many trillions of cells that even the loss of millions a week would only amount to an infinitesimal deficit.

Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia are afflictions publicized widely in recent years. They are devastating but not limited to the elderly, nor do they strike large numbers of people.

Recent experiments have proved that the elderly show no difference in their ability to retrieve memories from the past than to retain short-term memories. The criterion lies in their area of interest.

If a person can remember past events and recount interesting stories from those periods, it should be apparent that the equipment is still intact. Imagining the future poses no problems either. Age does not seem to make any difference when fantasizing.

Older people are often accused of "not showing interest," and that complaint is meant to imply dimunition of mental faculties. …

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