Cognition, aging, and disabilities: conceptual issues

Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2010 May;21(2):375-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2010.01.001.


This article reviews normative changes in cognition that are observed across the adult life span and considers how specific disabilities may interact with aging processes to increase functional decline in later life. Disabling conditions that directly affect the brain are contrasted with those that do not. The goal is twofold: to create a framework for thinking about how cognitive changes, aging, and disability may interact to help explain individual differences in coping, and to promote the inclusion of cognition in a comprehensive approach to assessment and care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Task Performance and Analysis