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To measure caregivers’ and clinicians’ perception of false memories in the lives of patients with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using a novel false memories questionnaire. Our hypotheses were that false memories are occurring as often as forgetting according to clinicians and family members.
This prospective, questionnaire-based study consisting of 20 false memory questions paired with 20 forgetting questions had two forms: one for clinicians and the other for family members of older subjects. In total, 226 clinicians and 150 family members of 49 patients with AD, 44 patients with MCI, and 57 healthy older controls (OCs) completed the questionnaire.
False memories occurred nearly as often as forgetting according to clinicians and family members of patients with MCI and AD. Family members of OCs and patients with MCI reported fewer false memories compared to those of the AD group. As Mini-Mental State Examination scores decreased, the mean score increased for both forgetting and false memories. Among clinicians, correlations were observed between the dementia severity of patients seen with both forgetting and false memories questionnaire scores as well as with the impact of forgetting and false memories on daily life.
Patients with AD experience false memories almost as frequently as they do forgetting. Given how common false memories are in AD patients, additional work is needed to understand the clinical implications of these false memories on patients’ daily lives. The novel false memories questionnaire developed may be a valuable tool.
To examine factors that influence decision-making, preferences, and plans related to advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life care among persons with dementia and their caregivers, and examine how these may differ by race.
13 geographically dispersed Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the United States.
431 racially diverse caregivers of persons with dementia.
Survey on “Care Planning for Individuals with Dementia.”
The respondents were knowledgeable about dementia and hospice care, indicated the person with dementia would want comfort care at the end stage of illness, and reported high levels of both legal ACP (e.g., living will; 87%) and informal ACP discussions (79%) for the person with dementia. However, notable racial differences were present. Relative to white persons with dementia, African American persons with dementia were reported to have a lower preference for comfort care (81% vs. 58%) and lower rates of completion of legal ACP (89% vs. 73%). Racial differences in ACP and care preferences were also reflected in geographic differences. Additionally, African American study partners had a lower level of knowledge about dementia and reported a greater influence of religious/spiritual beliefs on the desired types of medical treatments. Notably, all respondents indicated that more information about the stages of dementia and end-of-life health care options would be helpful.
Educational programs may be useful in reducing racial differences in attitudes towards ACP. These programs could focus on the clinical course of dementia and issues related to end-of-life care, including the importance of ACP.
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