Cognitive decline in spatial memory is seen in aging. Understanding affected processes in aging is vital for developing methods to improve wellbeing. Daily memory persistence can be influenced by events around the time of learning or by prior experiences in early life. Fading memories in young can last longer if a novel event is introduced around encoding, a process called behavioral tagging. Based on this principle, we asked what processes are affected in aging and if prior training can rescue them. Two groups of aged rats received training in an appetitive delayed matching-to-place task. One of the groups additionally received prior training of the same task in young and in mid-life, constituting a longitudinal study. The results showed long-term memory decline in late aging without prior training. This would reflect affected encoding and consolidation. On the other hand, short-term memory was preserved and novelty at memory reactivation and reconsolidation enabled memory maintenance in aging. Prior training improved cognition through facilitating task performance, strengthening short-term memory and intermediate memory, and enabling encoding-boosted long-term memory. Implication of these findings in understanding brain mechanisms in cognitive aging and in beneficial effects of prior training is discussed.