Impact on Society

Cognition Impact on Society

Memory difficulties can have detrimental effects on independence and quality of life of older adults.


There are a great number of older adults that may be affected by memory changes. People who are impacted include: Memory Decline

In normal aging, older adults experience memory related changes that are not necessarily harmful (e.g., slowing down of cognitive processing, memory lapses). Memory lapses that are considered to be normal for older adults (i.e., not necessarily indicative of diagnosed impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease) include misplacing items, becoming distracted, and having difficulty finding words to use in conversations. Notwithstanding these memory difficulties (i.e., memory difficulties with complex tasks, multi-tasking, distraction, or memory lapses) older adults are still considered to have healthy or normal cognition in normal aging.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Some of the symptoms of MCI might include an increase in: a) forgetting events (e.g., appointments); b) losing train of thought; or c) having difficulty making decisions. Notwithstanding the presence of symptoms, people with MCI are usually still able to remain independent and perform activities of daily living.

Literature for Alzheimer’s disease discusses symptoms of decline in general stages: a) mild stage (e.g., some memory loss for recent events); b) moderate stage (e.g., persistent memory loss, difficulty recognising friends); and c) severe stage (e.g., inability to perform many activities of daily living independently). Nevertheless, there is much variability among people with Alzheimer’s disease and decline can occur at different rates.


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