11 thoughts on “Forbes post, “Is Robert Mueller Too Old? (Some Honest Talk On Cognitive Aging)”

  1. I have met seniors who are “sharp as a tack,” as well as those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or whose cognitive abilities are simply declined due to aging. I have also talked to teens and adult who are intelligent and well spoken, and yet others who seem almost “clueless.” So, no, I do not think that expectations should be adapted depending on age. Doing so would be stereotyping seniors as a whole and making an assumption that all elders after a certain age are unable to cognitively function as well as younger groups. Yes, scientifically, our memory and thinking functions do lesson as we get older, but not necessarily to a point in which we cannot perform functions as well as someone younger. Overall, I think that expectations should be on a case by case basis depending on the senior in question and their current physical and mental state of health. In Mueller’s case, it does seem that he was struggling a little during the hearing. Given that, it is possible that he was not in a healthy condition and therefore maybe they should have called someone else in to take his place. Perhaps, though, he is suffering from a condition that he has not made public and the courts were unaware when they called him. My thoughts are all purely speculation of course.

  2. My husband is only 70 but we are definitely experiencing these slower cognitive reaction time. We have had him tested and he does not have dementia but his processing time is definitely impaired. As a result, he no longer drives in complex traffic situations, sticking only to freeway driving. I have also noticed that acquiringing of new information is also impaired. There is nothing that can be done about the slower processing and uptake issues according to the doctors to whom we have spoken. I am a year older but I’m not affected at all…yet.

    Tom has a very high IQ and the cognitive reserve is a definite factor in trying to cope with some of these deficits. These deficits can affect someone who is trying to operate at a high cognitive level in the workplace. The challenge is how in the world can you determine workplace effectiveness when everyone’s mental glide path is so radically different?

  3. I am surprised your article did not focus on hearing loss.
    We know that Bob Mueller is deaf in one ear and has reduced hearing in his other ear due to his combat experiences in Vietnam.
    We also know that many older adults experience presbycusis, a sensorineural hearing loss.
    Perhaps you can interview an audiologist (a VA audiologist who has experience working with older combat vets would be best) and get their take on what occurred during the recent congressional hearings.
    What you perceive to be cognitive decline may actually be an individual dealing with significant hearing loss in a poor listening environment.

  4. There needs to be a frank discussion of cognitive decline in older workers. The lack of guidance in this area means managers rely on what they can observe. There is no doubt that companies stereotype older workers, and that older workers have responsibilities taken away from them because of this. In my view, the restrictions placed on older workers may sometimes be justified. What is needed is some kind of yardstick to separate necessary restrictions from unwarranted ones.

  5. I truly believe that there is a brain deficiency with Bob Mueller. I work with special education students and saw many of the same characteristics in cognitive behavior in Mueller. If hearing was his only issue, he would likely remember what was in his report. I believe that he had very little to do with the content of his report because of his cognitive limitations. He let his deputies write most of it. That would be fine if he would have read it and remembered what was in it. Still, Section 2 was not in his scope of work. If he was as good as the Democrats said he was, then he would have understood what his scope was. He made a fool of himself and the Democrats at taxpayer expense. Just since the release of his report his face has become more sallow. He doesn’t appear to be of good health. His eyes seem to be sinking into his face. Of course, this is just a layperson’s perspective. As a fellow Marine, I would hate to see his cognitive limitations give him a bad name. It’s too late for that, though.

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