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“Enough about Age! It’s not about Age!!!!”

“Enough about Age! It’s not about Age!!!!”

by L.T. Force, Ph.D.


it seems to be the topic of the day - the reference and concern about age. We hear and read the continuing daily discussions about the recent Presidential Debates (just google “presidential debate discussions” and be prepared to invest a good day and a half reading all the various perspectives). The take away is - the concern about:  “the age of President Joe Biden - and how he is presenting himself”. High alert: It’s not about age! I become very frustrated and somewhat angry when the topic centers on:  “the age of the President”.

For the majority of my professional career (academic, research and practice) my focus has been in the field of gerontology, i.e., the study of aging: ( What do we know? We know so much about the changes that occur within the aging process. We know individuals experience this process uniquely. How we perceive aging is typically influenced by what we have witnessed. For instance, in my personal life, my father died at the age of 55 (off-time death) and my mother died at the age of 97 (on-time death). I have witnessed both ends of life expectancy. We also know that: “aging is not a process of frailty and decline - disease is a process of frailty and decline -  aging is a process of adapting, I.e. the farmer at 40 becomes the gardener at 60 and then  becomes the person attending to rose pots at 90 - we have the ability to carry interests across our  lifespan”.

So, to listen to these political pundits talk about the age of the President is ridiculous and misguided….its not about Age! And then we hear the discussion about:  “does the President have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?” This is what we know - there are over 144 different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease aka Senile Dementia Alzheimer’s type (SDAT) is only one of the forms of dementia. But this is what we really know - You don’t diagnosis dementia or Alzheimer’s disease by observation or dialogue - you diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by conducting a complete battery of clinical exams: ( Just because a person is experiencing memory loss or problems with language retrieval - doesn’t mean they have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease should be the last diagnosis you arrive at - not your first - and only arrived at after everything else has been ruled out (head-injury, polypharmacy, Lyme disease….etc.).

In summary, what is the take away - you don’t die from age! Age of the person is not the issue! Our perception of President Biden’s presentation is not related to age - but rather may be related to some underlying cognitive concerns. However, arriving at a diagnosis is not achievable via observation - only a battery of exams (driven by the concerns of the individual and/or family members) would be able to rule-in or rule out dementia-related or Alzheimer’s driven behavior of a person.


For additional information contact the Alzheimer’s Association: (


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