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How Perception of Time Changes with Age

How Perception of Time Changes with Age

Experiencing new places or events can make time appear to pass quickly. This is the reason that time seems to fly by for young people. The majority of life experiences are no longer new to older people, which is why time seems to pass more slowly for them.

How Perception of Time Changes with Age

How do youth and age influence the subjective passage of time?

Perception of time is correlated with age. As previously mentioned, young people are yet to experience people, places, and things; the newness of life causes time to seem to move rapidly. In a nutshell, this can be likened to the popular phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

On the other hand, most older folks have already lived fully; and this excessive familiarity makes time feel like it passes more slowly. The perception of time for seniors, too, can be summarized by a popular saying: “A watched pot never boils.”

Time is subjectively experienced by young and old alike. Although time does pass at a steady pace despite differences in age, young and old brains process information differently. Psychologists are aware of two primary ways in which the brains of young people and seniors perceive time.

One way is perceiving time as it occurs here and now, in other words, being aware of experiences that occur “in the moment.” The second way time can be perceived is retrospective; when looking back at life events, places, and things, time appears to pass at a more leisurely pace.

Biological processes influence the different ways that youth and seniors perceive time. In order to maximize survival, for instance, the brain prioritizes new experiences containing high levels of activity. As a result, the brain encodes more visual memories—and time seems to fly by in an instant.

Seniors, conversely, are more accustomed to daily routines, people, and places. Seniors’ brains encode familiar experiences differently than new ones. Aging adults’ subjective experiences of time are strongly correlated with the number of new memories produced, hence, the seemingly slow passage of time.

How do youth and age influence the subjective passage of time

Reflecting on past experiences is also different between the brains of younger and older people. Novel and fun experiences seem to pass quickly for youth; but, upon retrospect, these same busy life experiences seem to them to have unhurriedly moved along.

In a similar vein, for older people, time appears subjective when looking retrospectively on life events. Rather than looking back on exciting times and feeling they flew by in an instant, seniors’ brains tend to view these engaging times as having leisurely passed by.

Important lessons about quality of life can be gleaned from an awareness of how the perception of time changes with age. For example, seniors can influence their perception of time by incorporating new experiences into their daily lives, which stimulates their minds.

Older adults are encouraged to continue learning to help their minds stay young. Seniors might elect to take an interesting class or pick up a hobby, like quilting or woodworking. Traveling gives older people new life experiences and introduces them to exotic cultures—all of which make life seem longer.

The change in time perception in the elderly plays a significant factor in insomnia problems, read How to Help Your Loved Elders with Insomnia to help your loved ones have good sleep through the night like in their youth time.

How do biological aging processes impact seniors’ perception of time?

Normal age-related changes also influence seniors’ perception of time. A decline in working memory or attention can have an impact on how long time seems to pass. The internal clock of seniors slows in comparison to youth and takes longer to recover.

Seniors living with Parkinson’s disease or who simply go through the aging process, for example, experience a more rapid depletion of dopamine function. As a consequence, the external world seems to move at a faster pace—when in fact, their internal clock has actually slowed.

biological aging processes impacts seniors’ perception of time

Neurodegeneration, such as dementia and psychosis, can distort how older adults perceive time. Brain dopamine levels, internal clock speed, feedback, and other factors that naturally impact aging individuals can preserve or distort the perception of time in the aging population.

Of course, a perception of time can be resilient to the impacts of the aging process, especially when only minimal cognitive requirements (such as remembering what to do next or following a given set of instructions) are necessary to complete a task.

Whether time seems to pass slowly or quickly, caregivers are encouraged to stimulate the minds of their elderly care recipients. Engaging seniors in craftwork, hobbies, conversations, and leisurely pursuits help to keep their brains active and alert. An active mind is a healthier one.

Family or professional caregivers might introduce seniors to new places, people, and things in an effort to keep their minds young. Seniors might attend classes when caregivers provide safe transportation. New skills can be learned when caregivers deliver art supplies or quilting materials, for example.

When family members are too busy juggling their own households, relying on the caregiving professionals at Assisting Hands Home Care is a practical choice. We provide compassionate elder care to seniors in the comfort of home, enabling them to live independently for longer.

Professional caregivers from our reputable home care agency provide a wide range of non-medical care services. Responsibilities include supporting seniors with personal hygiene tasks, shopping for fresh groceries, preparing balanced meals, providing reliable transportation, performing light housekeeping, and giving medication reminders.

Assisting Hands Home Care also provides excellent companion care to seniors. We initiate conversations about their life histories or current events to stimulate their minds. Caregivers play card games with seniors, go on leisurely walks to promote physical exercise and serve as loyal companions.

Whether your elderly loved one needs intermittent companion care or ongoing professional attention from our caregivers, our home care agency is available to fully meet their care needs. We offer respite care, 24-hour care, live-in care, and forms of specialized care, such as memory care.

Trust Assisting Hands Home Care for the most compassionate senior care in  BataviaAuroraBartlettGenevaSt Charles, Illinois and the surrounding communities. Countless families rely on us for dependable in-home care. Call us at  (630) 948-8193 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation and start quality elder care today.