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Do we lose the ability to learn with older age?

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posted on Apr, 16 2008 @ 10:05 PM
I've seen memory problems a lot with older people... And it seems like a lot of the time they can't learn certain things that to middle aged and younger people seems second hand... For example, using a new TV controller seems impossible for some to figure out... No matter how many times you show them the buttons it's always the same thing... As if they have lost the ability to learn new things... What I'm wondering is if this is possible? Do people at a certain age become unable to learn any further? How is the brain supposed to function from birth till death? Can anyone explain this? Maybe point out some ideas of what could be happening or if my observation is correct... Thanks!

Anyone else notice this with older people, what do you think it is?

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 05:17 AM
reply to post by ElectricUncleSam

Yeah, my fiance and I are dealing with her 97 year old grandmother. She can be a handful in more ways than just going up the T.V. remote learning curve. I think it's just part of the brain's natural degeneration as we get older. We lose brain cells. Synaptic paths deteriorate. It's unfortunate, but that's part of the human predicament I think.

I have read studies showing individuals that engage in mental activities such as crossword puzzles, reading, etc., can stave off the effects of the aging brain for a longer period of time. My grandmother for instance loves word puzzles and is active in her bible study classes. She'll be 85 in May, but is still sharp as a tack. She couldn't set up the little home entertainment system we got her, but she knows how to work all the various remotes, their functions, etc. For some people, the decline in old age is just more severe I think.

posted on May, 11 2008 @ 12:00 PM
I believe its a condition called dimentia.

posted on May, 11 2008 @ 06:02 PM
reply to post by siddharthsma

Dementia is not confined to the elderly, as it can and does occur within every age grouping, though the classification sometimes reflects the group more than the symptoms.

And those of us hoary with white hair are not all idiots, drooling our way into senility. A person who learned to think in complex patterns at a young age seems to stave off the "rutted pattern" that shows more clearly in the elders who have had less varied life experiences.

So while youth may decry the mental abilities of the oldsters, remember that you are right now building the mental home you'll occupy for the next several decades.

posted on May, 11 2008 @ 07:28 PM
reply to post by ElectricUncleSam

I tend to think that's a mindset that a lot of individuals fall into as I have known a few seniors that are continually learning new things.
You know "The old ways are best.", "I don't need to learn anything new.".
Etc etc etc etc etc and so forth.
They let themselves get intimidated (by themselves, sometimes by others) into thinking they can't so thusly they can't.

posted on May, 11 2008 @ 07:57 PM
It might be because when you get old, some technology you do not wish to learn or you are reluctant to. This may having nothing to do with the capacity to learn, for I have found this in my own abilities.

For example, I can use a computer really well, and operate CNC machinery at my workplace and generate complicated 3D graphic files using CAD systems learning all the pull down menus, macros, and settings for various pieces of software, but for the life of me:

I absolutely cannot operate a cell phone that does anything more than what a normal phone could do 20 years ago.

If you asked me to get into the menus on a cell phone and adjust the settings and such, I would be lost. The reason is this; I despise the commercial aspects of cell phone technology that took a useful communications device and made it into something that is highly versatile in extracting money from users for no reason at all other than they are gullible.
Texting, for example, is one of those reasons. I stay away from cell phones because I don't want any part of all the other nonsensical aspects of its use, therefore (even though I may be capable of learning more about them) I refuse to do so and people would think I am technologically illiterate when using one because I don't buy into the way the technology is being used.

Remote controls are like this as well for me. It's not that I cannot understand them, its that after a point of expected functionality I have no other use for one. I want one that turns a TV or box on/off, change channels, volume, mute. Too much more than that offends me because I feel like it is taking away too much control from me and making me dependent and lazy.


Also, older people understand how dramatic and quickly things have change this last 100 years better than the youthful generation. When you see things change so often you tend to not want to commit to learning it because you know it will be obsolete in 10 years and you wont even need it.

I once wanted to learn linear video editing before I knew what non-linear editing was because we had no digital cameras and everything was recorded onto tape. Now that video can be all stored on hardrives and such, there would have been no reason to learn how to use an editing controller and two VTR's running through a production switcher and sound control board.

The older generation sees all these type things and gives up, probably.

[edit on 11-5-2008 by ben91069]

posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 07:53 AM
I was once told by a real estate broker when I was getting my real estate license that the hardest thing to do is change,I once said"No way will I ever use a computer"well getting injured changed that,and when we were young a TV remote was a thing of the future,the children now days are brought up with such said items so it's easy for them,ask a kid how to use an abucus,or a comptometer,or even a slide rule,they will look at you funny,thats just how life goes

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