Sometimes I have a hard time remembering things. Is memory loss a normal part of aging?
YES. As one ages there is modest memory loss, primarily short-term memory (recent events). Older adults are more likely to retain past or new information that is based on knowledge acquired or builds upon their life course or events. Retrieval of information may slow with age. The causes of these changes are unknown, but may include stress, loss, physical disease, medication effects, and depression. Lack of attention, fatigue, hearing loss, and misunderstanding are among factors impacting memory loss in persons of all ages. Strategies such as activity and exercise, association, visualization, environmental cueing, organization by category, and connection to a place may help to prompt memory. New research has revealed that 40% of persons diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (beyond what is expected for a person of that age and education) are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease within 3 years.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Sunday, July 06, 2008