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Learn More > Healthy Aging and Cognition 
Aging does not equal cognitive impairment. Indeed, most of us will finish our lives with relevant neurocognitive capabilities intact, functioning appropriate to our age. Indeed, it's our other body systems such as cardiac, musculoskeletal, pulmonary, and renal . . . that usually give out sooner.   
Patients, families and referring healthcare professionals seek to better understand whether changes in cognitive, emotional and/or behavioral functioning are congruent with benign or "normal aging", the effects of an acute or chronic medical condition, a sleep or pain disorder, temporary or on-going life stressors . . . or most commonly, a combination of factors. 
Neurocognitive changes specific to memory that remain stable with age, and are normal . . . may include: 
  • Recognition memory, the ability to retrieve information when given a cue, such as correctly giving the details of a story when asked yes/no questions. 
  • Temporal order memory, memory for the correct time or sequence of past events, such as remembering that ". . . last Saturday I went to the grocery store and then the post office, after I ate lunch with Evelyn and Bess." 
  • Procedural memory of how to do things, such as how to ride a bike or make a pot of coffee. 

Neurocognitive changes specific to memory that decline with age, and are normal . . . may include: 


  • Delayed free recall which is the spontaneous retrieval of information from memory with a cue, such as recalling a list of items to purchase at the grocery store without having them written down.  

  • Source memory which is knowing the origin of learned information, such as remembering a fact or incident because you saw it on television, read it in the newspaper, or heard it from a friend. 

  • Prospective memory which is remembering to perform an intended action sometime in the near term, such as remembering to take a medication before going to bed. 

What is considered healthy aging and cognition is also unique to the individual and their lifetime of experience. Frequently overlooked, and critical in assessment, is the individual's culture and the context of their everyday. These building blocks are fundamental in determining what is "normal" and what may be "of-concern."
Neurosciences and Normal 
Want to know what the Neuroscientists know about common activities associated with healthy (and even high) cognitive functioning in older adults? 
Consider this article on "Normal Cognitive Aging" from The Journal of Clinical Geriatric Medicine (2013).  
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