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1. Our brains remain 'plastic', or malleable for learning, until the day we die. Whether that potential is actually exercised is up to the patient.
2. Learning a 2nd language actually staves off Alzheimer's, speaking of broad averages across retrospective studies. YMMV, as neurologic problems in old age tend to follow genetics as much as environment.
3. Our vocabulary tends to grow.
4. Our ability to memorize decreases, but can still be done - it simply takes longer (more work).
5. Our brains physically shrink in old age. This is yet one more reason why the elderly are more susceptible to brain bleeds - the bridging veins get stretched as the brain matter sort of retracts, making it easier for the veins to be broken and cause a bleed.
6. Brains are a lot like muscles, in that as we age, the brain and the muscles naturally enter into senescence - about mid thirty for muscles, somewhere between 40 and 50 for the brain - but, like muscles given a regular training program, not only can the established neural networks be reinforced and maintained, new ones can be forged (see item #1) - it just takes more work than when we were younger.