Cognitive decline is associated with our cognitive abilities, which are ranked among higher brain functions.
The painter's skill is to distinguish between the color shades, the musician among the various sound variations, the dictionary between words and sentence structures, and the mathematician easily presents mathematical problems in graphs or abstract formulas.
Cognitive abilities are the capabilities of higher brain processes that enable us to think, perceive, represent (imagine), speak, work and plan. They show themselves in how we plan an activity, we solve problems, we logically conclude, how quickly we react to a certain stimulus from the environment (at what speed our brain processes information), how we focus on a certain matter/pay attention and what memory we have. They are connected with our perceptions of the world, which we receive through the senses: by sight, listening, touching, tasting, smelling.
The cognitive decline is following us from the early adulthood, and it is increasing with aging.
Some of our abilities are inherent, others develop from birth to life throughout our lives. The cognitive decline is following us from the early adulthood, and it is increasing with aging. We can see this in the memory game when younger children often beat adults. The differences between individuals are significant in cognitive decline, but in general, we can say that some cognitive functions decline over the years, and some even improve.
Over the years, we do not only start losing memory, but also other cognitive abilities: working memory, multitasking, visual perceptions, visible spatial perceptions, learning, attention, executive functions, logical reasoning.
Older we get, the more difficult it gets to perform tasks that require more abilities at the same time and perform them sequentially, interlaced or simultaneously. These tasks are called multi-tasking tasks. These are tasks that require us to simultaneously do two or more things, such as, for example, car driving, housekeeping, using a smartphone, walking and talking on the phone, watching TV and typing on a computer, etc. At these tasks, we also use motor skills, thinking or quick response to stimuli and attention, and visual and / or auditory perceptions.
Abilities that decrease over the years also include executive functions, which include the speed of response to stimuli, or how quickly our brain accepts, processes, and responds to it. Over the years, we need a little more time to do certain activities, our reflexes are a bit slower, and thinking may also be slowed down.
Our attention span is also decreasing, which is mainly related to the amount of data that can be processed simultaneously. Our focus is also weakening, which connects with how we can concentrate on a particular activity without being disturbed by other things (for example, in a loud environment, it is more difficult to focus on what the interlocutor tells us, and it's harder to collect our thoughts or perform some kind of activity).
Over time, our spatial perceptions, logical reasoning and learning ability are also weaker. Learning ability is associated with a slightly worse working memory, which relates to the amount of information that can be retained in the memory and retrieval of information from long-term memory.
But some cognitive abilities are improving over the years. These are often associated with wisdom and experience: we better understand others and ourselves and the nature of interpersonal relationships. Our vocabulary, semantic memory, expressed in general view, and our general knowledge are enriched over the years. Emotionally, we become more stable, because our emotions are better controlled. We also benefit from the planning of our activities for years.
Problems seen in cognitive decline may be mild, moderate or progressive. The consequences of cognitive decline can also be reflected in changes in emotion and behavior. Cognitive decline is a normal process of aging, but it can occur in a more intense form as a result of various causes, which also represent risk factors for cognitive decline.