Memory Change from Childhood to Old Age


Memory is a multifaceted process which contains three phases that include recalling, storing and encoding. Therefore, there are various brain areas which are involved in memory based on the type of memory in question. There are three types of memory which include short-term memory, long-term memory and skill memory. Short-term memory takes part in the prefrontal cortex part of the brain. It keeps information for 1 minute with a capacity of 7 items per minute. Long-term memory takes part in the temporal lobe hippocampus and it is activated when one want to memorize something for a longer duration. Skill memory on the other hand takes place in the cerebellum that transmits information to the basal ganglia. Memory is a brain function which changes with time as one grow and develop (Stannard, 2011). This paper focuses on evaluating the memory change from childhood to old age.

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Difference between Children and Adults in the Area of Memory

The main difference between children and adults with regard to memory is that, the adult’s memory ability is a bit stable as compared to that of children. Children normally experience a continuous growth of most all their body organs including the brain which is responsible for memory. In addition, the transfer of information from short-term memory to long-term memory is an art which is acquired based on the children’s stage of growth. It is also determined by the development level of their nervous system. Though unstable, their memory ability keeps on increasing and growing as they grow in age. However, adults have a fully developed brains, nervous system for information relay and comprehensive life skills to assist in effective information transfer from the short-term memory to long-term memory. Therefore, adults have more stable memory ability as compared to children. After reaching the maturity level, the brain ability starts going down and at older age, as their bodies weaken. The adults’ ability to keep memory decreases with time. Therefore, elderly ability to keep memory keeps on decreasing, though the skill memory is hardly lost completely.

Memory Difference Based in Age in Each Group

Just like all other body organs in a normal growth, brain grows and develops with age. This results into changes in the brain ability from childhood to adulthood. In the early age between 0-3 years, the brain of a child experiences drastic development as all other parts of the body grows. However, the level of brain growth is minimal at this age and their ability to memorize and to transfer information from short-term memory to long-term memory is a bit poor and thus, at this age, the child’s ability to remember information for a longer time is low. Nevertheless, things that are frequently practice can easily be remembered in the future.

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The hippocampus part of the brain is said to be at good level of growth at the age of four as compared to below four years of age. Moreover, at this age, a child can easily transfer information from the short-term memory to long-term memory, through memorization and retrieve it when need be. In this regard, the children’s memory level at this stage is much higher as compared to children in the previous age group. The continuous growth of brains as a child grows result to a more developed organ in the youth’s age or early adulthood. At this time, an individual can easily transfer information from one part of the brains to another. In this regard, children at teenage can easily remember events and information into details, as long as one was able to transfer the information to the long-term memory. At adulthood, individuals can be said to have reached maturity stage in growth. Therefore, they have a good information processing and relay speed and hence a good and stable memory. This memory capacity is maintained up to the age of around late 50s based on individuals’ ability. At this age, the brain ability to keep long-term memory begins to fade as the body weakens and usher the old age (Label & Beaulieu, 2011).

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Memory Difference between Young/Middle Adults and the Elderly

The difference between memory ability of middle adults and elderly is that the middle adults experience maturity in their brain development and also in life skills. Their nervous system is well developed and thus, they can easily relay information from one part of the brain to another. In this regard, they have a very sharp memory which is stable. However, as one grows old, the body began to weaken and all other body organs begin to experience functional problems. Brain is not unexceptional. Older people lose their cognitive ability with time, memory being one of them. Long-term memory ability decreases as hippocampus deteriorates with age. Therefore, at this age, the memory ability start decreasing and the situation deteriorate with time. Other possible cause of memory loss at this stage include inefficient of brain-enhancing nutrients absorption, decrease in the flow of blood to the brain, decrease of proteins and hormones that repair and safeguard brain cells as well as those that stimulate neural growth. Old people are said to lose memory of the most recent events, though they are able to keep a few memories of a number of things that they have been practicing all through their life. In this regard, they are more unlikely to lose skill memory. However, they can easily forget any new information that gets into their ears or the details of the events they witnessed recently (, 2015).

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Ways to Improve Memory in Children and the Elderly

Different individuals have different brains ability despite being at the same age. This is based on the effort made to improve one’s cognitive ability. There are different ways in which one can improve children’s memory ability. They include physical activity that promotes blood flow to the brain, brain-training games which promote the child’s ability to transfer information from one part of the brain to another and to retrieve the information as fast as possible, getting enough sleep, promoting social connections where a child can easily interact with other and share previous experiences and get brain challenges which promote general growth of the brain, and recitation of words and songs which promote information transfer and retrieval.

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Other measures that can be used to promote memory in children include healthy feeding, openness to experience, as well as promoting creativity and curiosity.  Exercise and enough sleep can also be used in improving memory among the elderly. Other measures for the elderly include healthy feeding and avoidance of chronic stress, as well as promoting mindfulness meditation.

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