2THE MIND

“I'm just having a senior moment”

If asked, most people would cite forgetfulness right after wrinkled skin as the hallmark of old age. According to the Pew Research Center (2009), 63% of respondents aged 18 to 29 believe that a person is old when he or she frequently forgets familiar names. The percentage holding this belief does decline with age, but even among the group aged 65+, the belief is held by 47%. Why, then, are we devoting such a large section of Great Myths of Aging to debunking what is so obviously true? Because the devil is in the details. The fact is that forgetfulness is not in the category of wrinkles; some aspects of thinking remain sharp into old age and, in addition, there is great variability across individuals. Furthermore, as far as technology is concerned, we often write older adults ...

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