While age-related EF (executive function) decline disrupts social and cognitive functioning in many domains, such degeneration may also carry the unforeseen benefit of improving communication in uncomfortable social contexts. We examined the performance of relatively low and high EF older adults and young adults on the socially distressing task of providing critical advice to a troubled obese teenager. Relative to higher EF older adults and younger adults, lower EF older adults were more open, provided more advice, and were seen as more empathic...Our findings suggest a potential silver lining to age-related cognitive decline.
Given that frontline medical professionals who deal every day with older Americans are ideally positioned to spot the impaired mental capacity that can leave seniors vulnerable to financial abuse, our new program seeks to inform doctors, nurses, and others about the warning signs of elder investment fraud and financial exploitation. Our goal is to improve the communication among medical professionals, older Americans, adult children, and state securities regulators in order to head off financial swindles before the damage is done.