The Impact of Aging on Memory

The impact of aging on memory

Failing to recall items, such as where you put your keys or names of important people, is an inevitable part of growing older. But memory problems that involve mild cognitive impairment or dementia such as Alzheimer’s should be taken seriously as this could indicate more severe health issues that require professional evaluation and diagnosis. It’s vital that this distinction be made quickly.

Good news is there are numerous strategies available to you for supporting healthy aging and warding off these more serious symptoms, including eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough restful sleep each night and managing health care as you age. All these practices also contribute to supporting strong memory health!

Researchers have used artificial tasks to assess memory changes with age. Unfortunately, such tests do not always reflect the challenges people encounter daily in real life; to address this shortcoming we created the ecologically valid What-Where-When (WWW) memory test which found that older people performed worse on this task than younger people despite no overall decreases in cognitive abilities associated with ageing.

We examined memory quality across these two age groups using a delayed cued recall test with delays that depended on how long had passed since learning, with memory maintenance strongly correlating with time since learning – this correlation being even stronger among high-quality memories than medium ones. Furthermore, memory quality was found to correlate with reduced SWA, slow oscillations, and slow and fast spindles associated with senescent sleep profiles such as these.