Posted by: Bert Copple | October 20, 2010

Destination Amnesia A Concern For Seniors

Older adults are more likely to have destination memory failures – forgetting who they’ve shared or not shared information with, according to a new study led by Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute.

It’s the kind of memory faux pas that can lead to awkward or embarrassing social situations and even miscommunication in the doctor’s office. These seniors also are reluctant to admit they are wrong.

“What we’ve found is that older adults tend to experience more destination amnesia than younger adults,” said lead investigator Dr. Nigel Gopie, who led the study with Drs. Fergus Craik and Lynn Hasher.

“Destination amnesia is characterized by falsely believing you’ve told someone something, such as believing you’ve told your daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when you actually had told a neighbor.”

The ability to focus and pay attention declines with age, so older adults use up most of their attention resources on the telling of information and don’t properly encode the context, such as who they are speaking to, for later recall.

“Older adults are additionally highly confident, compared to younger adults, that they have never told people particular things when they actually had,” said Gopie. “This over-confidence presumably causes older adults to repeat information to people.”

A critical finding in the study is that destination memory is more vulnerable to age-related decline than source memory, which is the ability to recall which person told you certain information.

People who have noticed an older loved one telling them things they already had, or any of the situations mentioned above, should seek extra help if you are unable to always attend to the loved one. There are clearly possible issues if someone cannot be there to help your loved one when this type of miscommunication occurs; but there is Home Instead Senior Care to make sure that does not happen.

Home Instead’s CAREGivers can assist seniors in communicating, and reminding them of things that have taken place already; whether it is with pharmacists and doctors, or even with other family members, the caregiver will be there for them.

Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to help your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.


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