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The prevalence and associated factors related to psychotic symptoms in older adults are understudied. The objectives were to assess the prevalence, incidence and factors associated with psychotic symptoms in a representative Greek sample of community living older adults.
This study includes older adults aged ≥ 65 years participating in the Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Aging and Diet. The analysis is based on n=1,904 participants with available data at baseline and n=947 participants at the 3-year follow-up. The presence of delusions and hallucinations in the past month was assessed on the grounds of the 17 symptoms of the Columbia University Scale for Psychopathology in Alzheimer's Disease and of the 14 symptoms of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire. An affirmative answer to any of these 31 symptoms defined the presence of psychotic symptoms. A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment for probable diagnosis of dementia and physical comorbidity was carried out by neurologists. Study factors included age, education, marital status, widowed in the past year, occupation, hearing impairment and number of chronic comorbidities. Penalized logistic regression analyses were carried out to assess the socio-demographic and clinical factors associated with the prevalence and incidence of psychotic symptoms.
The past-month prevalence of any psychotic symptom was 1.9% and 1.0% when excluding cases of dementia. The prevalence of any delusion and hallucination was 1.5% and 0.7%, and 0.8% and 0.3% when excluding cases with dementia. Paranoid delusions were the most prevalent. The incidence at the follow-up of any psychotic symptom was 2.1% and 1.3% when excluding dementia. Individuals not married had twice the odds and, farmers/breeders had three times the odds than public servants/teachers/executives of experiencing psychotic symptoms. Hearing impairment and the number of comorbidities increased the odds of the presence of psychotic symptoms. In addition to age and recent widowhood, these factors remained significantly associated with the presence of psychotic symptoms in cases without dementia.
Dementia was not related to over half of the cases observed with psychotic symptoms. Paranoid delusions were the most prevalent. Socio-economic and health status factors are significant predictors of psychotic symptoms.
Life expectancy has increased leading to a concomitant increase in the population of older people. Malnutrition, a major problem in this age group, deteriorates their health and quality of life. The association between risk of malnutrition and dietary intake has not been investigated sufficiently. The aim of this study was to examine potential associations between risk of malnutrition and dietary intake in a representative cohort of adults ≥ 65 years old.
Materials and methods
1,831 older people (mean age 73.1 ± 5.9 years old) from the HELIAD study were included in the analyses. Risk of malnutrition was assessed with the “Determine your Nutritional Health” checklist. Total score of the questionnaire ranges from 1–21, with 0–2 indicating good nutritional status, 3–5 moderate nutritional risk and ≥ 6 high nutritional risk. Dietary intake was evaluated with a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, validated for the Greek population, from which consumption of specific food groups (non-refined cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, alcohol and sweets in servings/day) was estimated, as well as adherence to the Mediterranean diet, using a relevant a priori score.
35.8% of the participants were well-nourished, 34.8% were at moderate nutritional risk and 29.4% were at high nutritional risk. Total energy intake did not differ between the groups (1,984 ± 500 kcal/day for those well-nourished, 1,995 ± 537 kcal/day for those at moderate nutritional risk and 1,934 ± 566 kcal/day for those at high nutritional risk, p = 0.140). Well-nourished older people consumed per day more portions of vegetables, fruits, legumes, poultry, sweets and fewer portions of alcohol compared to those at moderate and high risk (all p < 0.05). Furthermore, adherence to the Mediterranean diet differed significantly between the groups, i.e. those well-nourished had greater adherence to the Mediterranean Diet compared to the other groups (p < 0.001).
Although energy intake did not differ between the groups, there were significant differences in quality of their diet, as this was depicted in specific food group intake and adherence to a healthy dietary pattern. Thus, health experts should also consider diet quality when screening malnutrition in this vulnerable age group.
The present study aimed to explore the associations between social life and adherence to a healthy dietary pattern, the Mediterranean diet (MD), in a population-representative cohort of older people.
Cross-sectional study. Adherence to the MD was evaluated by an a priori score; tertiles of the score, indicating low, medium and high adherence, were used in the analyses. Social life was assessed by a questionnaire evaluating participation in leisure-time activities and the number of social contacts; primary occupation was also recorded and job characteristics were further explored.
Community-dwelling older adults.
Adults from the Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Aging and Diet (HELIAD) study (n 1933; age range 65–99 years).
Each unit increase in the number of social contacts/month and in the frequency score of intellectual, social and physical activities was associated with a 1·6, 6·8, 4·8 and 13·7 % increase in the likelihood of a participant being in the high MD adherence group, respectively. The analysis by age group revealed that younger elderly participants had a 1·4, 8·4 and 11·3 % higher likelihood to be in the high adherence group for each unit increase in the number of social contacts/month and in the frequency score of engagement in intellectual and physical activities, respectively. Similar associations were found for older elderly participants with high compared with low MD adherence, except for the intellectual activities.
The present results suggest that high MD adherence is associated with good social life, suggesting a clustering of health-promoting lifestyle factors in older adults.
Despite well-documented evidence of the psychological effects of caring for a relative with dementia, little is known about the bereavement experiences of family carers. The aim of this study was to explore the key psychological changes associated with carers’ adjustment to bereavement and “life after care.”
All carers taking part were recruited from a day care center, providing specialist services to people with dementia. We asked carers to describe the key changes associated with psychological adjustment to bereavement through semi-structured qualitative in-depth interviews. Strategies carers used to cope with and adapt to their new role were also explored. All data were thematically analysed.
Thirty-one carers were interviewed. The most frequent emotional reactions to bereavement were feelings of loneliness, loss, void, sadness, anger, and relief. Most carers were able to adapt to their new role, and engaging in pleasant activities was the most frequent strategy used to cope with loss and “life after care.”
Feelings of loneliness and loss are amongst the key emotional reactions shaping carers’ adjustment to bereavement. Most carers are able to adapt to loss; however, a minority experience increased psychological distress after the death of their loved one. A small percentage of carers continues caring for other dependants. Further research is required to identify how carers of people with dementia adapt to bereavement and how this increasing number of individuals can be best supported.
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