Just as you may not run as fast or jump as high as you did as a teenager, your brain’s cognitive power—that is, your ability to learn, remember, and solve problems—slows down with age. You may find it harder to summon once familiar facts or divide your attention among two or more activities or sources of information. These changes affect your ability to focus, so you may find yourself getting more easily distracted than you were when you were younger.
Hearing loss that often accompanies aging makes it more difficult to distinguish speech in a noisy environment. Because hearing then requires more concentration than usual, even mild loss of the ability to focus can affect speech comprehension.
Most people start to notice changes as they enter their 50s and 60s. Although these changes can cause consternation, most age-related memory and thinking problems don’t stem from an underlying brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, what appears to be a memory problem may simply reflect a slower processing speed and poor encoding and retrieval of new memories as a result of diminished attention. However, even though your brain may be slower to learn and recall new information, your ability to make sense of what you know and to form reasonable arguments and judgments remains intact.
Many of these limitations are reversible and related to poor sleep, but structural changes that take place in your brain as you age can explain some of these developments, too. Brain regions involved with memory processing, such as the hippocampus and especially the frontal lobes, undergo anatomical and neurochemical changes over time.
The result is that as you age, it takes longer to absorb, process, and remember new information. The natural loss of receptors and neurons that occurs with aging may also make it harder to concentrate. Therefore, you not only learn information more slowly, but you also may have more trouble recalling it because you didn’t fully learn it in the first place. With slower processing, facts held in working memory may dissipate before you have had a chance to solve a problem.
In addition, the ability to perform tasks that involve executive function declines with age. Many people learn to compensate for these changes by relying on habit most of the time and devoting extra effort to focus on new information they are trying to learn.
Even the aches and pains of getting older can affect focus. Pain itself is distracting, and some of the medications used to treat it also can affect concentration.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? (Genesis 18:24) And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.” (Genesis 18:26)
And be sure to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob thought, “I will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me.” (Genesis 32:20)
to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. (Genesis 50:17)
“Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the Lord your God to take away this death from me.” (Exodus 10:17)
Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. (Exodus 23:21)
Moses Intercedes for Israel The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.” (Exodus 32:30) So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. (Exodus 32:31) But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” (Exodus 32:32)
The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (Exodus 34:6) I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:7)
And he said, “O Lord, if it is true that I have found favor with you, then please travel with us. Yes, this is a stubborn and rebellious people, but please forgive our iniquity and our sins. Claim us as your own special possession.” (Exodus 34:9)
just as he does with the bull offered as a sin offering for the high priest. Through this process, the priest will purify the people, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:20) Then he must burn all the goat’s fat on the altar, just as he does with the peace offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the leader from his sin, making him right with the Lord, and he will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:26)
Then he must remove all the goat’s fat, just as he does with the fat of the peace offering. He will burn the fat on the altar, and it will be a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Through this process, the priest will purify the people, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:31) Then he must remove all the sheep’s fat, just as he does with the fat of a sheep presented as a peace offering. He will burn the fat on the altar on top of the special gifts presented to the Lord. Through this process, the priest will purify the people from their sin, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:35)
The priest will then prepare the second bird as a burnt offering, following all the procedures that have been prescribed. Through this process the priest will purify you from your sin, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven. (Leviticus 5:10) Through this process, the priest will purify those who are guilty of any of these sins, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the flour will belong to the priest, just as with the grain offering.” (Leviticus 5:13)
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