Mom started really complaining about her memory at least two or three years before she died. I sent her this email one day, because I was convinced that it was something that was temporary:

It turns out a little positive reinforcement won’t just help kids do better in school, it can help older adults do better at performing everyday tasks.
In one of several studies on the effects of age, University of Florida researchers have found that in older people, positive feedback tends to lead to improved performance on goal and memory tasks.

Dr. Robin West/ UF psychology researcher: “If you put older adults into a maximally supportive condition where they are starting to see some success and they are working on a problem over time and your telling them that they are doing well on the problem then what happens is they invest.”

When they receive negative feedback, older adults tend to withdraw and ultimately give up. Now researchers are trying to identify what conditions can help older adults improve their cognitive functions.

Dr. Robin West/ UF psychology researcher: “Our research has shown that you can improve your memory if you work on it. If you invest effort, your score will improve. If you maintain a positive attitude about the task that you’re doing you can continually gain skills at those tasks.”

And experts say that brings with it a better quality of life.