Articles Posted in Cognitive Issues

Hearing and memory are both critical aspects of older adults’ daily communication and social interactions.  A deeper understanding about how aging affects performance in these areas calls for an exploration of.  A recent study conducted at the University of Toronto and published in the journal Psychology and Aging, explored the relationships between perceptions of aging, self-perceived abilities, and performance on tasks involving memory and hearing.  The associations between these social variables had previously never been studied before among the older adult population.  The study found that when older adults possess negative perceptions about aging, their confidence in their abilities to hear and remember things may diminish, resulting in poor performance at both.

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Disability not only is associated with major adverse health outcomes, it makes an older adult require support due to challenges or dependency in performing activities essential to maintaining an independent lifestyle.  The proportion of disabled older adults is a critical determinant of a society’s capability to overcome the problems of population aging.  Dementia is often prevalent among older adults with disability and causes severe impairment.  Critical risk factors that are association with disability are cognitive impairment and losses in mobility. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a potential risk for disability.  The co-occurrence of slow walking speed and MCI may heighten this risk.

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Many older adults with dementia suffer from cognitive impairments and experience depressive symptoms.  These symptoms have the potential to reduce physical activities and mental wellbeing, impair social or occupational abilities, and debilitate health-related quality of life.  Moreover, research has shown that depressive symptoms are significantly related to aggravated psychological functions in older adults with dementia.  Thus, creating effective strategies to enhance their cognitive abilities and mitigate depressive symptoms are necessary.  Reminiscence therapy, which calls for vocal or silent recall of past experiences, activities, and events in a person’s life by utilizing tangible prompts, has shown to be an effective intervention in the enhancement of psychological abilities and reduction of depressive symptoms in older adults with dementia.

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Dementia is prevalent in the ever-growing aging population. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Although it is well known that physical exercise can enhance the well being of older adults by improving mobility, physical function, cognition and mood, and preventing falls, not much research has been done exploring the effects of physical exercise on individuals with dementia residing in various settings. Recently, researchers sought to explore this phenomenon, as well as find out what types of physical exercise produced the best results.

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It is well known that the aging population is on a continuous rise with people living longer than ever before due to the increase in more chronic conditions, such as cancer and dementia. The progression of these conditions increase the need for more care and heighten the chance for more nursing care problems, such as malnutrition, due to degenerative physical, social, and cognitive functions. Patients who suffer from dementia, especially, may be affected in the early stages of their illness.

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It is well known that the older population is increasing worldwide and that Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading forms of dementia experienced by older adults. It has also been well established that physical exercise enhances health and well-being in older adults by improving mobility, physical and cognitive function, mood, and preventing falls. 30% of older adults with dementia reside in nursing homes due to the debilitating effects and loss of independence related to the cognitive disease. The types of physical exercise that are most appropriate for this vulnerable population are important to know to ensure that the physical therapy they are receiving is evidence-based and engages the individuals with dementia both physically and cognitively.

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The aging population in Japan is the fastest growing in the world—by 2035, one out of every three people will be over the age of 65. With such a rapidly increasing aging population, combating age-related health issues, like physical and mental frailty or illness, is becoming critical. It is crucial that older adults maintain as much functional independence as long as possible. Thus, it is important that long-term care facilities, such as assisted living communities, be able to identify incident disability risk factors for their residents.

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Older adults with dementia often experience apathy, but this symptom is commonly overlooked. Studies have shown that environment-based interventions have a positive influence on apathy. However, not much research has been done to explore influential environmental qualities. Researchers have pointed out that environmental factors have a significant influence on apathy.  Environmental factors such as institutionalization, which can lead to diminished incentive, reward, or control, can influence the development of apathy. Environmental factors are especially significant given that they are often easier to change than many internal factors related with aging and dementia.

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The prescription of potentially inappropriate medications to older adults is known to be highly prevalent in the United States, estimating from 12% for community-living seniors to 40% for those dwelling in nursing homes (NHs). When prescribed drugs are clearly indicated, founded on scientific evidence, and are well tolerated, medication use is considered beneficial. Medications that are inappropriately prescribed often lead to negative health consequences. Furthermore, age-related physiological changes may influence the change of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics responses to medications, further decreasing the tolerability of many medications in older adults.

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According to a recent government study reported in The New York Times, 82% of residents who live in assisted living facilities suffer from at least one of the three most common chronic conditions: Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and heart disease. The alarming way in which these ailments overlap has triggered an important new field of study.
Over 733,000 people reside in American assisted living facilities. These facilities provide care for people who need help performing their daily activities, such as dressing, but do not require the more intensive services of a nursing home.
Not only did the study find that more than half the residents are ages 85 and older, researchers were shocked that so many were in need of medical care. In a data brief, the researchers reported, “These findings suggest a vulnerable population with a high burden of functional and cognitive impairment.”
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