Mental acuity of the normal elderly

J Okla State Med Assoc. 1995 Mar;88(3):119-23.


The elderly are persons over age 65, now comprising 12% of our population. The normal elderly function normally both in their self care, and also in their social activities of daily living, which we tabulate. The current terms for the normally functioning elderly who show only mild psychological deficits are age-associated memory impairment and age-related cognitive decline, which we define, criticize and tabulate. The psychological deficits of the elderly consist of mild generalized slowing and inaccuracies compared to normal young persons. These deficits are measured by objective psychological tests which mimic real daily living situations--the name-face test, fire alarm test, two delayed recall tests, misplaced objects test, shopping list test, and digit symbol test, which we describe. A longer early formal education is preventive of mental dulling during normal aging. Treating using overlearning, by cognitive training, is significantly beneficial.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Reference Values