chapter  8
31 Pages

Normal and Pathological Language in Elderly People

WithJosé Miguel Rodríguez Santos, Javier García Orza

This chapter analyzes the changes that occur in language with age, reaching the conclusion that, contrary to what happens with other cognitive abilities, for example, spatio-visual skills, language is preserved to all practical extents. Language skills — the ability to produce and understand language and use the information given in this way — are absolutely essential for the autonomous functioning of individuals during their lifetime, and especially during old age. With increasing age, a deterioration of all the cognitive functions takes place. Language is no exception and, thus, as the person gets older, language function undergoes some changes. Naturally, these usually take the form of a deterioration in functionality. As understanding and remembering oral language is a common daily activity, perhaps people tend to think of it as a very easy task, whereas in fact it is an extremely complex activity from the cognitive point of view.