Is It Harder To Learn As You Age?

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Cheryl Torrie, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. Cheryl Torrie

    Cheryl Torrie Member
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    Or is it just me?
    I have been wondering if it's my age that keeps me from exploring and mastering new subjects and methods or if it's just stubbornness or even fear. I love learning, don't get me wrong, but I find myself doing a lot of things in my old tried and true methods even when I learn a quicker and possibly more accurate way to do it. For instance, I attended a trade school to learn computer software languages and basic computer repair but I am still working in bookkeeping and I rarely write my own programs or even customize the ones I use. Have you ever considered all of the knowledge you have and don't use and wondered why?
     
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  2. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    Yes I have. I find it so much harder to learn now than even 10 years ago. It's not that we've necessarily lost our intellect. I can follow logical thought, and reason with the best of them. My problem is my short term memory is at an all time low. That's why I have trouble adding to the knowledge base I already have. It's terribly frustrating at times!
     
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  3. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    I find I don't concentrate as well as I used to, *sigh*
     
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  4. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    I am proud to say that I am a quick learner, or should I say USED TO BE a quick learner. When I hit 40, I have noticed that my concentration is not that strong anymore. There are times that I would ask a question twice in one seminar. For a consolation, my husband said that I may have so many things on my mind such that I become forgetful at times. Maybe he is right and that's what I want to think. But somehow, it is noticeable that my mind is not that sharp anymore.
     
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  5. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    I guess we are all different in the way our mind/brain seems to age, I know some people who are over 90 and their mind and memory are razor sharp, others who have trouble with anything that demands thinking at all.

    I do believe in the adage "use it or lose it" and exercise my mind by using it as much as possible, maybe to the point of exhaustion in my case :rolleyes:
    I do find I have deteriorated in some areas such as spelling and remembering names and other facts. Yes and poor concentration at times as others have mentioned.
    Regarding learning I somehow have a resistance to learning something new and find it difficult to even contemplate it. It's as though my mind has become tired and just wants to relax and chill out. :cool:
     
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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  6. Will Lawrence

    Will Lawrence Well-Known Member
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    No matter hold old or how educated, a day is lost if you don't learn something new!!!

    I believe the definition of "learning" can take on a number of meanings. We tend to jump to the conclusion that learning has to be something directly tied to "textbook" type subjects. It's not!!! As we age, we have so much more to learn each day. Has anyone attempted to weed through the 'maze of Medicare'??? Plan F or Plan C or.... What did my doctor just tell me? I have to take how many of which pills today? Henrietta just was diagnosed with **************. What the heck is that and how can I help her? The grandkids have some students in their classroom from *******. Are they safe? Where is that country and what to they believe?

    We have so much to occupy our minds as "seniors". We DO learn new things each day. It may not be geometric functions or thermodynamic impacts of climate change. We learn new things that are required for us to continue to function in the unknown that will beset us tomorrow.

    We're "slower"?? Gosh, I hate to use that term. Our minds may not be quite as quick to pick up new things. Yet, most of us began this life with phones hanging on the wall, slide rules, typewriters, and hand-written long homework assignments. We've had to learn how to exist in a computer driven culture. We've had to learn to use laptops, tablets, smartphones. We've had to learn e-mail, texting, and... yes... on-line discussion boards.

    Our minds are full. Yet, every day we push something else in there. If we don't we fail. If we choose not to learn... to adapt to a forward moving society we lose.

    Sorry for the long post. I just so firmly believe that most of us seniors do learn. We will see some in our age group who simply refuse to. That's their loss.
     
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  7. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    I agree with all you say here Will, its a question of being open to change and adapting to the ever changing world, this especially applies to technology and I find that relatively easy to pick up because of my background in electronics.
    I never even think of textbook learning nowadays as I feel the need to be able to directly use all I learn, any other extraneous knowledge I see as pointless at my age, I would forget it quickly anyway.
    I guess we are all different and there are many ways to exercise our minds, the main thing is to do something.
     
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  8. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    MY Memory is shot.., it worries me. I can read something now, and have forgotten it in a few minutes...sometimes seconds...and I have to go back and re-read again, sometimes several times. ..but like your husband Corrie, my o/h says the same thing, that I have so much going on in my head that there's not room for more, but of course that's just to placate me and we both know that's nonsense..

    Brittany, I understand how you feel, I'm younger than you...and the ability to retain information is affecting me just as much, even tho' I do try to keep my brain as exercised as possible...so I don't know what's going on, but it does concern me a lot!!
     
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  9. Ken N Louis

    Ken N Louis Well-Known Member
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    I have forgot Algebra and Geometry why it was so important in the first place I will never understand!!
     
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  10. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    I go with your husband it's probably all down to stress Holly, I have experienced really bad short term memory loss when I was going through a stressful time, just like you I forgot what I had just read, I noticed this when in my 30s so it's not age. I am now living a much more relaxed lifestyle and my short term memory is very good, at 74. Both my daughters in their early 40s suffer the same memory loss when their work is particularly stressful.
    If you look at your life now Holly, you have worries about scan results and lots of other medical issues regarding your ongoing back problems, plus your workload and I suspect other stuff as well.
    It's hardly surprising you have memory problems. There is a lot of research into all this but even Wikipedia is very complex in it's information, but when you are stressed or worried your body goes into survival mode and will focus on the essentials so some memory areas are shut down.
    The solution is to relax and not worry, but how you do that is not an easy one to answer.

    PS: Some prescription drugs can cause it as well
     
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  11. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Funny thing Ken is I haven't forgotten any of that..I can do algebra, and geometry just as well if not better than when I was young...and everything I ever learned when I was young I retain still...it's my recent and short term memory that is the problem..and although I learn new things every day I find it very difficult memorise them ... so I have to write everything down , particularly at work!!
     
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  12. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    ooooh thank you for that Terry, you've described my situation in a nutshell...and I have to say your post has put my mind at rest a little bit ...I do try and not to worry about it, but my mind won't let me , so I'm caught between a rock and a hard place...however, thank you so much for that, I really mean it... it certainly has given me food for thought...


    whether I'll remember it in 5 minutes time is another question...LOL>>> o_O;):D
     
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  13. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    I guess as long as you remember who your husband is and where you live you should be ok ;)
     
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  14. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    LOL...sometimes I'd like to forget both.....kidding...I think....;)
     
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  15. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    I have forgotten 99% of what I learned at school :rolleyes:, but I guess your school education is more about training your mind to think in certain ways, and develop patterns of absorbing knowledge. I have always felt though that they could teach you a lot more useful things like how to manage your finances and your relationships and lots of other real life stuff.
     
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  16. Ken N Louis

    Ken N Louis Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  17. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Very Well-Known Member
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    People are constantly trying to get me to learn. After a small stroke, I had therapists coming by my home 4 times a week teaching me all sorts of exercises to do to increase my mobility, never mind the pain involved that only increases with all that. My doc is trying to teach me how to eat. I refuse to call a celery stalk and two grapes "lunch". My dad was always trying to teach me how to make money by selling everything I owned for a profit, no matter how much I like the item and wanted to keep it. My mom always tried to teach me to keep my mouth shut, avoid confrontations and not to make waves.
    Well, they all failed. The older I get, the more I just want to be left alone.
    Guess I'm done ranting now. :confused:
     
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  18. Will Lawrence

    Will Lawrence Well-Known Member
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    40+ years in engineering and construction, the high school algebra and geometry came in really handy until......... "OK Google. How many gallon in a 10 FT diameter tank 17 FT tall?" Google and Siri have mitigated any need for any human to know any thing.:rolleyes:
     
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  19. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    It IS worrisome Holly! It's not a matter of not trying, it's simply a matter of not being able.
     
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  20. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I haven't noticed any large differences, perhaps because, since I already know everything worth knowing, I haven't tried to learn any thing lately. Okay, more seriously, it seems that my weak areas are becoming weaker. Basic math comes to mind, but then I have very few occasions to need it anymore since the answers are a few keyboard clicks away. When I was younger, I could handle math okay but when it came to things like algebra or geometry, I was confused even in high school. In algebra, I would have to write as many of the formulas in the margins of a test paper at the start of a test as I could remember before I forgot them and, to be candid, I cheated my way through geometry and still only managed a C. I bailed out on my third day of trigonometry.

    When I taught paramedic courses, drug dosages involved algebra, and when I would review algebra before teaching pharmacology and drug dosages, it would make perfect sense to me. Yet a year later, when I would prepare for another paramedic course, I would have forgotten much of it. Anything involving numbers has always been a weak spot for me, and now I can't even remember a telephone number long enough to enter it into my phone, and sometimes I have to resort to my fingers when multiplying. Sometimes I forget my own phone number and I've had it for several years now.

    Although I still do fairly well with words and language, there are times when I simply can't remember a word that has been a part of my vocabulary since elementary school. I can usually think of a near-synonym of the word I'm looking for, but there are many times when I know there is a better word but I can't think of it. I'd be happy if I could retain what I already have.

    As for learning new things, age may be part of it, but there is also the fact most of us are no longer tested on our knowledge, so we're not learning with the objective of being able to answer questions on a test. As a result, we retain only the things that seem relevant or useful to us.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  21. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    True, we really don't have to remember anything anymore, the information is at our fingertips.:)

    I also have trouble remembering things though, both long term and short term memory. It's really strange the things I do and don't remember. I can remember a conversation and even what I was wearing 30 yrs ago but sometimes can't remember why I went into the kitchen,

    I have no Alzheimer's in my family so I'm hoping for the best but I could also be the first! :(

    I can still help the youngest grandsons with homework unless it's Common Core! :)
     
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  22. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I have found learning is more difficult as I age. My concentration is also a problem but still, still I keep trying to learn stuff.
     
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  23. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina Isobe Very Well-Known Member
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    :oops:I hope not for being a senior citizen is all that is next! I empathize with all that has been posted and believe Terry is absolutely right. There are juices to drink to keep us at optimum like pomegranate juice. We've all learned how to use a computer and cell phones out of school, so I think we are doing well for our ages! We live and learn and life is for learning I believe. It's like Terry said too much stress stunts everything!
     
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  24. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    The other problem with stress Krissttina is that as our lives and work especially become ever more complicated, this can be the cause of a lot of this stress, often manifesting in the form of anger and rage. Our societies appear to full of angry people nowadays and in my opinion a lot of violent crime is the result of this increased stress related anger.
     
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  25. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    I must say that compared with the past, I feel like being able to learn with ease at this age, but it's all about what kind of learning.

    For practical learning, yes, it's easier and faster than when I was young, but when it comes to memorizing things, you will find me having trouble, not sure if its due to age or simply laziness.
     
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