Coping with Senility
This word is obsolete and should not be used!
It carries a powerful but erroneous assumption that serious impairment of thinking ability in a person of advanced age is CAUSED BY THE PERSON'S ADVANCED AGE. We know that this is an incorrect assumption, since the vast majority of older adults, even the quite elderly, DO NOT HAVE SIGNIFICANT COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT. In other words, we must look beyond one's age for the cause of an adult's cognitive impairment. The most common causes are brain diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease or stroke, but can also be reversible, such as infection, dehydration, untreated pain, etc.
If we casually blame cognitive impairment on advanced age, we can reach the dangerous conclusion that, since we cannot change someone's age, we cannot help their cognitive impairment. We might then fail to get the appropriate medical evaluation for the elder, and thus miss the chance to find and correct a reversible cause of cognitive impairment. We would, in fact, have committed an "ageist" error.
Punchline: Do not use the word, "senility."