Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

    • ex. I don’t have a contract with the repairman. We just have a verbal agreement.
    • ex. He had a gaffe during his speech. He pronounced the names wrongly.
  1. confuse (someone) for (someone)
    • ex. The grandfather confused Ben for his older brother Bill because they look similar.
  2. an opponent
    • ex. He trained hard to win against his opponent in the championship game.
  3. mental
    • ex. She takes care of her mental health by sleeping early, eating healthy food, and avoiding stress.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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Last month, President Joe Biden mixed up the names of French leaders Macron and Mitterrand while giving a speech. This has caught a lot of attention. However, a popular aging researcher S. Jay Olshansky, said that making verbal communication errors on TV is completely normal and stress can make them worse. He said that there is nothing to be concerned about.

Biden, 81, has a long history of verbal gaffes. In fact, some people describe him as an old man with trouble remembering dates. And he is not the only one making verbal gaffes. Former President Donald Trump, 77, confused his major opponent Nikki Haley for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Health experts say that verbal gaffes can’t determine whether someone has mental difficulties or not. Medical tests are needed to check someone for mental difficulties. According to Dr. Eric Lenze, remembering names at the right moment is the hardest thing to do correctly. Delays in remembering details are normal because the brain is affected by heart health, blood pressure, and physical activity. However, Dr. Lenze also said that it’s reasonable for people to wonder if leaders in their 70s and 80s can still lead.

This material was based on an article by The Associated Press.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Remembering Details

  • In what situations do you usually have a problem remembering details (ex. when I’m sick, when I’m stressed)? Discuss.
  • Do you think the government should do something for older adults who are experiencing mental difficulties such as remembering details? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, is forgetting details a sign of a mental health issue? Why or why not? Discuss.

Leaders’ Age

  • Do you think leaders in their 70s and 80s like Biden and Trump are effective? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Why do you think some leaders in their 70s and 80s continue to join elections? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, should there be an age when leaders should retire? Why or why not? Discuss.