How Age Affects Memory Essay
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HOW AGE AFFECTS MEMORY
The study was carried out to check on the relationship of memory loss and age. It set out to test the hypothesis that “Age Affects Memory.” The study involved a case study with a sixty five year old Hispanic male. Direct questions about his experience over the years and the state of his memory were presented.
Aging comes about with unavoidable physiological deterioration. However, according to research, it is possible to remain sharp for a long time even as age advances. That depends on the person’s behavioral change. Continuous engagement of the mind in cognitive activities and living in a positive environment helps to maintain a healthy memory in seniors . The truth is that the neurons in the brain replicate less frequently when the person is older than when they are younger. However, keeping the brain engaged and performing challenges that stir up the brain helps in maintaining a sharp memory for the longest time. The study revealed that the loss of memory is not overall. That is supported by Hess et al (2001). Hess argued that memory loss occurs in details of events during the initial stages after which even the major events are forgotten. As age catches up with the person, they find it difficult to remember the details of events and not the existence of the event .
Age related memory loss is proven to come about with the overall biological deterioration of the body that comes about with age . Research proves that under varying conditions, the prefrontal cortex of older adults could be less active or more active than that of younger adults. However, cases such as the stereotype that aging automatically results in memory loss worsen the cases of memory loss in adults as stated by Hess et al (2001). They carried out a study that revealed the impact of the individual’s environment, and the value that the individuals placed on their memory to the level of mental sharpness.
The method used was a face-to-face interview with the subject. It was verbal whereby the interviewer asked open-ended questions that gave the respondent the opportunity to express himself. The questionnaire consisted of six preset questions that the interviewer asked the respondent. The respondent was a funny and outgoing man that enjoyed making jokes out of serious situations.
The research was a case study that was conducted at his house during the respondent’s free time. During the interview, the interviewer would rephrase the questions so that they would not sound intimidating. The respondent, on the other hand, was relaxed. He cracked jokes at the changes taking place in his body as a result of age and laughed at them. It turned out to be more of a relaxed informative conversation for the interviewer.
The material set for use during the interview was a six-question questionnaire. The questions were as follows:
Are you better able to recall experiences now than when you were younger?
Do you feel like it was easier to recall information now than when you were younger?
As time passes, how does forgetting things make you feel?
What do you think causes the memory change with age?
How well can you retain the information you receive now as compared to when you were you were younger?
Does forgetting information given to you at a particular time as you get older make you feel uncomfortable?
The interviewer began the interview with a brief personal introduction. After that he explained the nature of the interview to the respondent and asked him to sign a consent form. The respondent was uneasy at the beginning of the interview, but he relaxed as it advanced. Despite his tension at the beginning of the interview, the respondent was friendly and receptive.
The study confirmed the impact of the person’s attitude and environment in sustaining memories. The respondent confirmed this saying that he had to use items for remembrance. He said that it was like his memory had become fogy, but understood that it came with age. He also said that his family had a history of Alzheimer’s disease; a condition that he believed would automatically catch up with him later in life. Such an attitude could cause him to give up any efforts to enhance his memory, a study that was confirmed by Hess et al (2006).
When asked whether his memory was better now than when he was younger, he said that he only remembered the general details such as the main story but not the fine details. According to Grady and Craik (2000), triggers such as symbols and notes could be used to trigger memories. The respondent felt bad about forgetting simple things that he used to remember easily when he was younger. Acceptance is key in ensuring that the senior takes steps in enhancing their memory. The respondent should come to terms with his condition and work towards sharpening his memory skills by taking up challenges.
He seemed to embrace that memory loss is a must occurrence as a person ages. In fact, from the responses, he seemed to anticipate it. That was a negative attitude and a more positive environment that encouraged brain activity and positive comments would have helped him. The study confirmed the general attitude towards memory and age. Having little regard for one’s memory is one of the factors that causes or speeds up the memory less in seniors.
Memory loss is inevitable as age sets in. The difference in the rate of the memory loss depends on the individual’s conscious decision to stay active and work the mind. The environment of the senior also determines whether they stay sharp for long or severe memory loss sets in prematurely. According to the findings of the interview, memory loss also stirs up feelings of loss in a person and it would be good to build acceptance and awareness on methods of slowing down the entire process.
Grady, C. L., & Craik, F. I. (2000). Changes in Memory Processing with Age. Cognitive Neuroscience , 224-230.
Hess, T. M., Auman, C., Colcombe, S. J., & Rahhal, T. A. (2001). The Impact of Stereotype threat on Age Differences in Memory Performance. The Journals of Gerontology , 1-24.
The American Psychological Association. (2006, June 11). Memory Changes in Older Adults. Retrieved Jan 19, 2015, from American Psychological Assocoation: <http://www.apa.org/research/action/memory-changes.aspx>
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