Between the Subjective and the Objective: How Informative Is Subjective Evaluation of Memory Among the Old-Old?

Dov Shmotkin*, Nitza Eyal, Haim Hazan, Tamar Shkolnik, Aviva Shorek, Jiska Cohen-Mansfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study addresses the relationship between subjective evaluation of memory and objective cognitive dysfunction in old-old age. In a sample of 164 participants (mean age 91.9, range 87-106) drawn from a nationwide Israeli survey, 42% evaluated their memory positively and 30% negatively. Participants were no more concerned about being forgetful than younger adults. Subjective memory and concern about forgetfulness were not significantly correlated with cognitive dysfunction. Sociodemographic, physical, and well-being characteristics explained three times more variance of cognitive dysfunction than of subjective memory. The study suggests that subjective memory among old-old people who can undergo a survey interview may not reflect actual cognitive dysfunction. Apparently, the role of subjective evaluation resides in other areas of adaptation to very old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-315
Number of pages22
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


FundersFunder number
Department of Clinical Epidemiology at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center
Ellern Foundation
Herczeg Institute on Aging
Israel Academy of Science1041-541
National Institute on AgingR01-5885-06, R01-5885-03
Israel National Institute for Health Policy ResearchR/17/2001
Tel Aviv University


    • aging
    • cognitive dysfunction
    • cognitive functioning
    • memory complaints
    • old-old
    • subjective memory


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