Anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, including the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, are described. Age-related changes in the nervous system are described. Common nervous system disorders are briefly discussed with Parkinson’s disease covered in greater depth. Sleep, aging-related changes with sleep, sleep disorders, and dangerous consequences of untreated sleep disorders are highlighted. The chapter concludes with brief consideration of how aging impacts memory and learning.
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Focus is on the older adult learner and the status of and major issues related to the capacity to learn including intelligence, memory, attention, reaction time, readiness and motivation, learning styles, literacy, and neuroplasticity. Alterations in the sensory system that may influence learning and recommended approaches to teaching in each situation are analyzed. The language spoken along with literacy level and cultural barriers are discussed. Specific teaching approaches are reviewed including one-to-one instruction, group instruction, and electronic learning. Lastly, there is a summary of suggested teaching approaches and available programs plus locations to secure older adult education.