How the Aging Brain Affects Thinking

The brain controls many aspects of thinking — remembering, planning and organizing, making decisions, and much more. These cognitive abilities affect how well we do everyday tasks and whether we can live independently.

Photo by cottonbro on

Some changes in thinking are common as people get older. For example, older adults may:

  • Be slower to find words and recall names
  • Find they have more problems with multitasking
  • Experience mild decreases in the ability to pay attention

Aging may also bring positive cognitive changes. For example, many studies have shown that older adults have more extensive vocabularies and greater knowledge of the depth of meaning of words than younger adults. Older adults may also have learned from a lifetime of accumulated knowledge and experiences. Whether and how older adults apply this accumulated knowledge, and how the brain changes as a result, is an area of active exploration by researchers.


Filed under aging, aging brain, successful aging

4 responses to “How the Aging Brain Affects Thinking

  1. As someone who on he 8th reached 76 and have been experiencing a slew of mental changes for some time, this was a very interesting post. The challenge that I have had for some time now is telling myself that my changes are part of normal ageing and not something more significant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all, belated Happy Birthday, Paul! Many happy returns!😀 Secondly, you have articulated exactly one of the problems of being ‘up in years.’ I just had my annual physical last week and I told the doctor that when I get a pain in my stomach I don’t know if it is something I ate or I am dying because one of my organs is failing. The best thing I can advise is to communicate a lot. I know your wife is close to you in age. That helps. Sadly, I have outlived most of my friends. The ones I have now are 20 years younger than I am. On the positive side, every day above ground is a gift to appreciate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I thought that you could be more directive, in a friendly sort of way! 😉
        Seriously, I do speak to Jeannie frequently but keep it fairly lighthearted because she has had Parkinson’s for a few years and my troubles are nothing compared to what she is facing. Anyway, back from a bike ride that I try to carry out every second day! It’s my way of staying as fit as I can so that I can look after Jeannie when it comes to it.

        And thank you for the birthday greetings!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Keep up the good work, Paul. It’s a one day at a time deal.


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