Like fine wine… some Senior’s brain functions are improving with age! No longer can we assume age connotes general decline since some mental abilities increase with age. A new study published Aug 19, 2021 found that with age (after 58 yrs old and before late 70’s), some people get better at focusing on important matters and ignoring distractions.
The processes studied three components of mental ability: alerting, orienting, and executive inhibition. When you drive into an intersection, alerting prepares you for the approach, orienting allows you to shift attention in an unexpected movement like a person walking, and executive function allows you to inhibit distractions so you can stay focused on the pedestrian and not the billboards or a bird. Most assume that all three faculties decline with age, but the results showed that orienting and executive function improved until a person’s mid-to-late 70s.
The researchers believe the improvements might be due to experience. If you practice orienting and executive inhibition your entire life, it could counter some of the physical effects of aging on the brain. Another theory is that the brain can shift resources to support more crucial mental abilities with age.
Follow this LINK for an article that explores the study’s results and offers explanations for these results. The good news is that studies are now proving what seniors knew all along…we’re smarter than you think!