Do you ever wonder why your aging loved one tells you the same thing over and over? I found this article on Senior Journal that answers just that question. Here is an excerpt below:
Senior Citizens Most Likely to Forget Who They Told What, Reluctant to Admit Mistakes
Researchers say this ‘destination amnesia’ can be embarrassing and even dangerous – ‘I know I told you that!’
Aug. 30, 2010 – Senior citizens often forget with whom they have shared – or not shared – information, according to a new study. The researchers call it “destination memory failure,” or “destination amnesia.” But, even more alarming, they find these seniors extremely reluctant to admit they are wrong.
It’s the kind of memory faux pas that can lead to awkward or embarrassing social situations and even miscommunication at critical times, like in a doctor’s visit. Ironically, after making these memory errors older adults remain highly confident in their false beliefs.
The study, led by Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, appears online, ahead of print publication, in the Online First Section of Psychology and Aging.
“What we’ve found is that older adults tend to experience more destination amnesia than younger adults,” said lead investigator and cognitive scientist Dr. Nigel Gopie, who led the study with internationally-renowned experts in memory and attention, Drs. Fergus Craik and Lynn Hasher.
“Destination amnesia is characterized by falsely believing you’ve told someone something, such as believing you’ve told your daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when you actually had told a neighbor.”
Why are older adults more prone to destination memory failures?
The ability to focus and pay attention declines with age, so older adults use up most of their attention resources on the telling of information and don’t properly encode the context (ie. who they are speaking to) for later recall.
“Older adults are additionally highly confident, compared to younger adults, that they have never told people particular things when they actually had,” added Dr. Gopie.
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