Age Associated Memory Impairment

Age associated memory impairment generally refers to the decline of short-term memory that accompanies aging. One common complaint of aging is difficulty remembering the details of recent actions and activities while being able to easily recall details from years past. How many of us, even by our twenties and thirties, find ourselves asking "How come I can remember all the lyrics to a song that was popular when I was 10, but have a hard time remembering details of what happened yesterday?" This is due to the difference in how the brain stores short and long-term memories.

We know that there are three stages to memory; encoding, storage, and retrieval.

Initially, all information is encoded into short-term memory and stored. Depending on the type of information involved these memories can be transferred into permanent memory. As we grow older we have a great many more demands on our attention and memory and this dilutes our ability to remember details. It wouldn't be efficient for our brain to store ALL of our memories permanently. So along the way we tend to lose some of the inconsequential memories, such as what you had for breakfast on the third Wednesday of July three years ago.

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