57 research outputs found

    Outdoor environments for people with dementia:An exploratory study using virtual reality

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    Few studies have investigated how outdoor environments might disable people with dementia. The issue is rarely considered in planning and design guidelines and not at all in regulations, despite dementia being within the scope of disability discrimination legislation in the United Kingdom and other countries. This article reports a study that involved older people with mild to moderate dementias taking two walks, one in a real town centre and one in a virtual reality (VR) simulation. Adaptations were made to the VR simulation to test possible design improvements. Overall, the town centre posed relatively few problems for the 38 older people with dementia who participated, although more difficulty was evident with greater impairment. Some features of particular places were liked more than others, particularly the segregation of spaces from motor traffic. There were measurable benefits from using clear textual signs to support wayfinding and to identify objects and places in the environment. Diminished outdoor activity is likely to be experienced as a decrease in quality of life and may accelerate the progression of dementia. We conclude that older people with mild to moderate dementia should be encouraged to be active outdoors and that this can be facilitated by small environmental modifications. Some limitations of the VR technology used for the study are also reported.</p

    Goal-orientated cognitive rehabilitation for dementias associated with Parkinson's disease―A pilot randomised controlled trial

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    OBJECTIVE: To examine the appropriateness and feasibility of cognitive rehabilitation for people with dementias associated with Parkinson's in a pilot randomised controlled study. METHODS: This was a single-blind pilot randomised controlled trial of goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation for dementias associated with Parkinson's. After goal setting, participants were randomised to cognitive rehabilitation (n = 10), relaxation therapy (n = 10), or treatment-as-usual (n = 9). Primary outcomes were ratings of goal attainment and satisfaction with goal attainment. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, mood, cognition, health status, everyday functioning, and carers' ratings of goal attainment and their own quality of life and stress levels. Assessments were at 2 and 6 months following randomisation. RESULTS: At 2 months, cognitive rehabilitation was superior to treatment-as-usual and relaxation therapy for the primary outcomes of self-rated goal attainment (d = 1.63 and d = 1.82, respectively) and self-rated satisfaction with goal attainment (d = 2.04 and d = 1.84). At 6 months, cognitive rehabilitation remained superior to treatment-as-usual (d = 1.36) and relaxation therapy (d = 1.77) for self-rated goal attainment. Cognitive rehabilitation was superior to treatment as usual and/or relaxation therapy in a number of secondary outcomes at 2 months (mood, self-efficacy, social domain of quality of life, carers' ratings of participants' goal attainment) and at 6 months (delayed recall, health status, quality of life, carer ratings of participants' goal attainment). Carers receiving cognitive rehabilitation reported better quality of life, health status, and lower stress than those allocated to treatment-as-usual. CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive rehabilitation is feasible and potentially effective for dementias associated with Parkinson's disease

    Involving persons with dementia in the evaluation of outdoor environments

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    Using virtual reality (VR), we examined the barriers to and facilitators of functioning outdoors in persons with dementia (PwD) and investigated the generalizability of findings in VR to the real world. An existing town center was modeled in VR. PwD took part in both real- world and VR walks. Based on the results, the model was redesigned and then tested again. Performance on the walks improved, and potentially beneficial adaptations to outdoor environments were identified, but limitations of VR as a representation of the real world were also identified. We conclude that VR models, together with a rigorous behavioral testing method, can be a useful tool for the evaluation of outdoor environments and for identifying improvements for PwD

    What are subjective cognitive difficulties and do they matter?

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    Background subjective cognitive difficulties (SCD) have been associated with a higher risk of developing dementia. However, there is large variation in the way SCD are assessed and in their associations with cognitive functioning. Objective to compare the agreement of different SCD measures in identifying people with SCD and to investigate whether SCD are more strongly associated with cognitive functioning, mood, subjective age or background variables. Methods this cross-sectional study included 206 community-dwelling people aged ≥65. SCD were assessed with individual domain specific questions and a multiple-item scaled measure. Performance on tests of memory, attention, and executive function, and ratings of mood, subjective age and demographic information were recorded. Results there was some classification overlap between the five measures of SCD, however of the 64 people identified as having SCD, only one person appeared in all five measures of SCD and 34 people were classified by one measure only. There were limited associations between SCD and objective cognition, with more consistent associations with mood and subjective age. Conclusions the conflicting evidence regarding whether SCD are related to objective cognition and future risk of dementia may be due to different measures of SCD being employed. Careful consideration and standardisation is recommended regarding the cognitive domains and the reference groups for comparison, the response structure and the classification criteria. Longitudinal studies of SCD that include these considerations are needed to clarify the conceptual utility of SCD

    The effects of lifelong cognitive lifestyle on executive function in older people with Parkinson’s disease

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    PublishedObjective Active lifelong cognitive lifestyles increase cognitive reserve and have beneficial effects on global cognition, cognitive decline and dementia risk in Parkinson's disease (PD). Executive function is particularly impaired even in early PD, and this impacts on quality of life. The effects of lifelong cognitive lifestyle on executive function in PD have not been studied previously. This study examined the association between lifelong cognitive lifestyle, as a proxy measure of cognitive reserve, and executive function in people with PD. Methods Sixty-nine people diagnosed with early PD without dementia were recruited as part of the Bilingualism as a protective factor in Age-related Neurodegenerative Conditions study. Participants completed a battery of tests of executive function. The Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire was completed as a comprehensive assessment of lifelong cognitive lifestyle. Non-parametric correlations compared clinical measures with executive function scores. Cross-sectional analyses of covariance were performed comparing the performance of low and high cognitive reserve groups on executive function tests. Results Correlational analyses showed that better executive function scores were associated with younger age, higher levodopa dose and higher Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire scores. Higher cognitive reserve was associated with better motor function, but high and low cognitive reserve groups did not differ in executive function. Conclusions Cognitive reserve, although associated with global cognition, does not appear to be associated with executive function. This differential effect may reflect the specific cognitive profile of PD. The long-term effects of cognitive reserve on executive function in PD require further exploration.The BANC study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, UK (ESRC) grant RES-062-23-193

    Social Isolation and Cognitive Function in Later Life: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

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    BACKGROUND: There is some evidence to suggest that social isolation may be associated with poor cognitive function in later life. However, findings are inconsistent and there is wide variation in the measures used to assess social isolation. OBJECTIVE: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association between social isolation and cognitive function in later life. METHODS: A search for longitudinal studies assessing the relationship between aspects of social isolation (including social activity and social networks) and cognitive function (including global measures of cognition, memory, and executive function) was conducted in PsycInfo, CINAHL, PubMed, and AgeLine. A random effects meta-analysis was conducted to assess the overall association between measures of social isolation and cognitive function. Sub-analyses investigated the association between different aspects of social isolation and each of the measures of cognitive function. RESULTS: Sixty-five articles were identified by the systematic review and 51 articles were included in the meta-analysis. Low levels of social isolation characterized by high engagement in social activity and large social networks were associated with better late-life cognitive function (r = 0.054, 95% CI: 0.043, 0.065). Sub-analyses suggested that the association between social isolation and measures of global cognitive function, memory, and executive function were similar and there was no difference according to gender or number of years follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Aspects of social isolation are associated with cognitive function in later life. There is wide variation in approaches to measuring social activity and social networks across studies which may contribute to inconsistencies in reported findings.We are grateful to the Alzheimer’s Society for funding a PhD scholarship for Isobel Evans to complete this work through the following grant: Transdisciplinary training for dementia research in CFAS (The Alzheimer’s Society CFAS Doctoral Training Centre). 2015–2018. AS-DTC-2014-027

    Trajectories of cognitive and perceived functional decline in people with dementia: Findings from the IDEAL programme

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    INTRODUCTION: Impaired cognition and instrumental activities of daily living (iADL) are key diagnostic features of dementia; however, few studies have compared trajectories of cognition and iADL. METHODS: Participants from the IDEAL study comprised 1537, 1183, and 851 people with dementia, and 1277, 977, and 749 caregivers at baseline, 12 and 24 months, respectively. Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-III and Functional Activities Questionnaire were used to measure cognition and iADL, respectively. Scores were converted to deciles. RESULTS: Self-rated iADL declined on average by -0.08 (-0.25, 0.08) decile points per timepoint more than cognition. Informant-rated iADL declined on average by -0.31 (-0.43, -0.18) decile points per timepoint more than cognition. DISCUSSION: Cognition and self-rated iADL declined at a similar rate. Informant-rated iADL declined at a significantly greater rate than cognition. Therefore, either cognition and perceived iADL decline at different rates or informants overestimate increasing iADL difficulties compared to both cognition and self-ratings. Highlights: Self-ratings of the degree of functional difficulties were consistent with cognition Decline in self-rated everyday activities was consistent with cognitive decline Informant-ratings of everyday activities declined more than cognition

    Self-esteem, self-efficacy and optimism as psychological resources among family caregivers of people with dementia: findings from the IDEAL study

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    YesBeing a family caregiver, and in particular giving care to someone with dementia, impacts upon mental and physical health, and potentially reduces the ability of caregivers to ‘live well’. This paper examines whether three key psychological resources, self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem, are associated with better outcomes for caregivers of people with dementia. Design and Participants Caregivers of 1283 people with mild-to-moderate dementia in the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) project responded to measures of selfefficacy, optimism and self-esteem, and ‘living well’ (quality of life, life satisfaction and well-being). Multivariate linear regression was used to examine the association between psychological resources and ‘living well’. Results Self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem were all independently associated with better capability to ‘live well’ for caregivers. This association persisted when accounting for a number of potential confounding variables (age group, sex, and hours of caregiving per day). Conclusions Low self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem might present a risk of poor outcomes for caregivers of people with dementia. These findings encourage us to consider how new or established interventions might increase the psychological resilience of caregivers

    Dyadic perspectives on loneliness and social isolation among people with dementia and spousal carers: findings from the IDEAL programme

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    YesThis study aims to investigate the impact of self and partner experiences of loneliness and social isolation on life satisfaction in people with dementia and their spousal carers. We used data from 1042 dementia caregiving dyads in the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) programme cohort. Loneliness was measured using the six-item De Jong Gierveld loneliness scale and social isolation using the six-item Lubben Social Network Scale. Data were analysed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model framework. Self-rated loneliness was associated with poorer life satisfaction for both people with dementia and carers. The initial partner effects observed between the loneliness of the carer and the life satisfaction of the person with dementia and between social isolation reported by the person with dementia and life satisfaction of the carer were reduced to nonsignificance once the quality of the relationship between them was considered. Experiencing greater loneliness and social isolation is linked with reduced life satisfaction for people with dementia and carers. However, having a positive view of the quality of the relationship between them reduced the impact of loneliness and social isolation on life satisfaction. Findings suggest the need to consider the experiences of both the person with dementia and the carer when investigating the impact of loneliness and social isolation. Individual interventions to mitigate loneliness or isolation may enhance life satisfaction for both partners and not simply the intervention recipient.‘Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life: living well with dementia. The IDEAL study’ was funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) through grant ES/L001853/2. ‘Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life: a longitudinal perspective on living well with dementia. The IDEAL-2 study’ is funded by Alzheimer’s Society, grant number 348, AS-PR2-16- 001

    Are profiles of social, cultural, and economic capital related to living well with dementia? Longitudinal findings from the IDEAL programme

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    Rationale: Research exploring social, cultural, and economic capital among people with dementia is scarce. Objective: We describe levels of social, cultural, and economic capital in people with dementia at baseline and levels of social and cultural capital 12 and 24 months later. We identify groups of people with dementia having different combinations of capital and explore whether the identified groups differ in personal characteristics at baseline and in quality of life (QoL), satisfaction with life (SwL), and well-being over time. Method: Baseline, 12-months, and 24-months data from 1537 people with dementia (age, mean = 76.4 years; SD = 8.5; Alzheimer's Disease = 55.4%) enrolled in the IDEAL cohort were analyzed. Social (interactions with friends, civic participation, social participation, neighborhood trust, social network), cultural (education, cultural participation) and economic (annual income) capital, QoL, SwL, well-being, and personal characteristics were assessed. Results: Compared to people their age, people with dementia reported slightly lower frequency of interactions with friends, social networks and social support, civic and cultural participation, education, and annual income. However, social engagement, cultural participation, and annual income are low among British older adults. Latent profile analysis identified four groups that, based on their levels of social, cultural, and economic capital were named socially and economically privileged (18.0% of participants); financially secure (21.0% of participants); low capital (36.9% of participants); and very low capital (24.1% of participants). Latent growth curve models showed that over time QoL, SwL, and well-being remained largely stable for all groups. Compared to the low capital group, the socially and economically privileged and financially secure groups had higher QoL and well-being whereas the group with very low capital had poorer QoL, SwL, and well-being. Conclusions: New policies and efforts from the government, philanthropic foundations, the voluntary and primary care sectors are needed to address social, cultural, and economic disadvantage among people with dementia
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