It’s annoying but unfortunately true: most parts of the body work less well as one gets older and older.
This is even true of the brain, which is part of why it becomes more common to experience a “tip of the tongue” moment as one gets older.
Such age-related changes in how the brain manages memory, thinking, and other mental processes are called “cognitive aging.”
Understanding how aging changes cognition is important. It can help you understand what to anticipate when it comes to your own aging. It can also help families better understand the changes they’re noticing in an older person, and whether those are out of the ordinary or not.
Since I’ve often written about changes in thinking that are abnormal and concerning in older adults, I thought it might be helpful for me to write an article outlining what is normal and to be expected.
Specifically, I’ll cover:
- How cognitive aging differs from other diseases and conditions that affect memory and thinking
- 6 ways that memory and thinking change with aging
- The difference between crystallized and fluid intelligence
- How to tell cognitive aging apart from more worrisome changes
- Practical takeaways and what you can do