Lesson 5.2: Memory as We Age

Memory and Age–Good News!
A senior citizen working on a computer.
“Digital literacy training for senior citizens in the Philippines” by Beyond Access is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Recent studies on the age range of college students reveals that more older learners are attending both universities and community colleges. For four-year programs, the average age is 25. For community college, it is 29. The age range has steadily increased from the year 2000. In many classes at Lane, it is quite common to have students in their forties, fifties, even sixties. There are, of course, myriad reasons for people entering or re-entering higher education that include the state of the economy, changed work and family situations, and veterans accessing their education entitlement after service.

Many of my older students especially look forward to the topic of memory covered in Effective Learning. They cite the usual concerns around an aging brain. But there is good news! The article featured in exercise 1, linked below, covers what changes about the memory as we age, what kinds of memory age does affect and what kind stays the same, and 8 ways to help the memory.
1. Read the article “People Over 40: Learning and Memory,” by Dan Hodges. It is Study Tip #16, page 42, on the PDF file with all of the rest of the Tips. You will need to scroll down.
2. Write a letter of help and encouragement based on Hodges’ advice to Cathy who is 50 and just now entering community college after raising three children and one grandchild. In the letter, cover at least 10 suggestions for her. Cathy has always had a dream to pursue a Culinary Arts degree and open a healthy foods restaurant. She is concerned, however, about being able to memorize all of the material in her required courses. She is worried about her decreasing ability to remember names and faces right away, and the fact that it seems to take her longer to learn new things. She is quite confident of comprehending and passing classes related to her major because she has been a “foodie” as far back as she can remember. She has also won many awards for her cooking and baking at the county fair over the years. However, she hasn’t had a math or writing class since high school, and those are her big concerns.



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How to Learn Like a Pro! Copyright © 2016 by Phyllis Nissila is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.