Running head: cognitive development in healthy older adults 1 Essay

Running head: Cognitive Development in healthy older Adults 1

Cognitive Development in healthy older Adults 8

Cognitive Development In Healthy Older Adults

Amanda Bordi

Warren County Community College

Human Growth and Development


“Human cognition alters naturally over time, affecting memory, executive function, processing speed, and language” (Elizabeth M. Zelinski, 2016). Many things can attribute to an individual’s ability of as forementioned, memory, function, processing, language. Research has shown proven ways to make individual’s cognitive ability better and also takes a look at what makes cognition worse as well as being able to test the actual ability of one’s own cognitive state. It is made clear that if one of those does not directly mean that the person is stable or unstable. Each person is different and can be a result of environment, genetic, or generational (Elizabeth M. Zelinski, 2016)


Taking a look at things that change with age such as processing speed, working memory, and executive control processes. Processing speed is the ability to drive a car and react if needed to break emergently or swerve to avoid a potential catastrophe. To test how this effects elders they use a Stroop test. The Stroop test is described as having flash cards and having it read the word “blue” but in red ink and having them say the color of the word. The test of this showed that having a slower processing time does not definitely mean that there is a cognitive decline, it just shows that this is what happens when you age. (Elizabeth M. Zelinski, 2016)

Next there is working memory, which is the ability to use memory while performing an action. To test this on elders the do a ‘span task’ which is they give numbers in one order and have them recite them backwards. Failure of these tasks prove that there is indeed cognitive decline and the ones who do fail these tasks have difficulties not storing information at that time that they are accessing the information.

The last part of cognition they evaluate is the executive control processes which is the ability to plan, monitor, activate, and respond to information. Similar to working memory except more complex. They test this by giving them tasks that are heavily relied on memory. An example would be giving them clues and having them solve a problem by using that memory of the clues that were given. In executive control processes it is mentioned that the ability to remember and hold on to that memory and use it for something in the future is much more telling than ‘pressing a key when a tone is heard’ (Elizabeth M. Zelinski, 2016).


Cognitive decline with aging while frustrating it is something that is unavoidable. There are many things one can do to prevent this by exercising, having more positive emotions, and overall staying healthy. Notably, looking at a patient who is cognitively impaired due to age, they are still able to perform almost all every day tasks just at a slower rate. It is important to know that due to the impairment the patient is also aware of this and can be frustrated so giving the patient some of your patience.


Elizabeth M. Zelinski, S. E. (2016). Cognitive Development in Healthy Older Adults. Journal of The American Society of Aging.

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