The Aging Intellect  book cover
1st Edition

The Aging Intellect

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ISBN 9780415996853
Published May 9, 2011 by Routledge
320 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Habits such as regular exercise are well known to be linked to better health in older adults. Far less is understood about behaviors that contribute to the optimally aging mind. This may be a reason why only about 25% of elders meet the standards for optimal cognitive aging. The Aging Intellect describes more than a dozen specific characteristics that distinguish older people who remain cognitively vigorous from the majority who are aging normally or are at risk for cognitive impairment. In addition, this book provides professionals with evidence-based recommendations that can help their aging patients and clients minimize the effects of predictable cognitive changes and more fully use their mental abilities. The Aging Intellect is also written for people of all ages interested in maximizing their cognitive vigor. Dr. Powell has encouraging words for those who know they are not aging optimally, but are willing to modify one or two habits that can improve their mental powers.

Richly illustrated with clinical examples and case studies, The Aging Intellect includes topics rarely discussed in book form.

  • specifies lifestyle habits and attitudes linked to three levels of cognitive aging: optimal, normal, and at risk for cognitive impairment
  • describes evidence based strategies that minimize mental decline
  • warns of normal cognitive changes that increase the chances of elders making poor financial decisions
  • identifies intellectual qualities that strengthen with age.

Table of Contents

Maximizing Intellectual Powers in the 3rd Age of Life. How Health Affects the Intellect. How the Mind Ages. Health Lifestyle Habits Benefiting the Aging Body and Mind. Direct Actions that Benefit the Intellect. Optimal Cognitive Aging. Normal Cognitive Aging. High-risk Cognitive Aging. What I've Learned About the Aging Intellect. Glossary of Terms.

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Douglas H. Powell, Ed.D., ABPP, is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and a Consultant in Psychology at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. He has worked with older people as a therapist, teacher and researcher for more than two decades. Author of two previous books on aging, he is also the co-author of MicroCog, a computerized test designed to diagnose mild cognitive impairment. The Aging Intellect evolved from the author’s lecture notes for students in his classes at Harvard and at Florida Gulf Coast University.


"As we extend our life spans through healthy living, we sense a growing vulnerability to cognitive impairment with each passing birthday. Harvard psychologist Douglas Powell asserts in an important new book that individuals are not pwoerless in the face of these anxieties. The author offers helpful, specific, evidence-based recommendations. The book's intended audience includes professionals, caregivers, and 3rd Agers who realize they are not aging optimally and want to do something about it. Accessible yet thorough, The Aging Intellect is a marvelous resource for boomers and non-boomers alike." - Paul Efthim, Ph.D., licensed psychologist in private practice in Brookline, MA, faculty at Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, in the New England Psychologist August/September 2011