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Studies of frailty have tended to focus on adverse outcomes. This study aims to develop a short instrument that identifies a positive outcome, namely, the level of well-being in older adults at risk of frailty.
871 older adults (49.4% women; mean age 75.72 years; SD = 8.05) with a frailty risk profile participated in the first wave of the D-SCOPE study. The possible domains of well-being were identified using a bottom-up approach. Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) and multidimensional Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis of 17 items in 4 domains measuring well-being was performed on a calibration sample (n = 435) to develop the instrument. The instrument was subsequently corroborated by confirmatory factor analysis and convergent/divergent relations with relevant external measures in a validation sample (n = 436).
The ESEM three-factor solution, with the subdimensions of sense of mastery, meaning in life, and life satisfaction, displayed good fit to the data (RMSEA = 0.070). For each dimension, the three best discriminating items were retained for the instrument following IRT analysis. Internal consistency of these dimensions was good in the validation sample (sense of mastery α = 0.864, meaning in life α = 0.715, and life satisfaction α = 0.782). The confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) three-factor model also showed good fit to the data (RMSEA = 0.064). Small to large zero-order correlations with the external measures were as expected.
Using a bottom-up approach, this study developed a short instrument to identify levels of well-being in vulnerable or frail older adults. The instrument can be applied in primary care and prevention programs.
Frailty is associated with cognitive decline in older adults. However, the mechanisms explaining this relationship are poorly understood. We hypothesized that sleep quality may mediate the relationship between frailty and cognition.
154 participants aged between 50-90 years (mean = 69.1 years, SD = 9.2 years) from the McKnight Brain Registry were included.
Participants underwent a full neuropsychological evaluation, frailty and subjective sleep quality assessments. Direct relationships between frailty and cognitive function were assessed using linear regression models. Statistical mediation of these relationships by sleep quality was assessed using nonparametric bootstrapping procedures.
Frailty severity predicted weaker executive function (B = −2.77, β = −0.30, 95% CI = −4.05 – −1.29) and processing speed (B = −1.57, β = −0.17, 95% CI = −3.10 – −0.16). Poor sleep quality predicted poorer executive function (B = −0.47, β = −0.21, 95% CI = −0.79 – −0.08), processing speed (B = −0.64, β = −0.28, 95% CI = −0.98 – −0.31), learning (B = −0.42, β = −0.19, 95% CI = −0.76 – −0.05) and delayed recall (B = −0.41, β = −0.16, 95% CI = −0.80 – −0.31). Poor sleep quality mediated the relationships between frailty severity and executive function (B = −0.66, β = −0.07, 95% CI = −1.48 – −0.39), learning (B = −0.85, β = −0.07, 95% CI = −1.85 – −0.12), delayed recall (B = −0.47, β = −0.08, 95% CI = −2.12 – −0.39) and processing speed (B = −0.90, β = −0.09, 95% CI = −1.85 – −0.20).
Relationships between frailty severity and several cognitive outcomes were significantly mediated by poor sleep quality. Interventions to improve sleep quality may be promising avenues to prevent cognitive decline in frail older adults.
How cognitive impairment and frailty combine to impact on older adults’ Quality of Life (QoL) is little studied, but their inter-relationships are important given how often they co-occur. We sought to examine how frailty and cognitive impairment, as well as changes in frailty and cognition, are associated with QoL and how these relationships differ based on employment status and social circumstances.
Using the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe data, we employed moderated regression, followed by simple slopes analysis, to examine how the relationships between levels of health (i.e., of frailty and cognition) and QoL varied as a function of sex, age, education, social vulnerability, and employment status. We used the same analysis to test whether the relationships between changes in health (over two years) and QoL varied based on these same moderators.
Worse frailty (b = −1.61, p < .001) and cognitive impairment (b = −0.08, p < .05) were each associated with lower QoL. Increase in frailty (b = −2.17, p < .001) and cognitive impairment (b = −0.25, p < .001) were associated with lower QoL. The strength of these relationships varied depending on interactions with age, sex, education, social vulnerability, and employment status. Higher social vulnerability was consistently associated with lower QoL in analyses examining both static health (b = −3.16, p < .001) and change in health (b = −0.66, p < .001).
Many predictors of QoL are modifiable, providing potential targets to improve older adults’ QoL. Even so, the relationships between health, cognition, and social circumstances that shape QoL in older adults are complex, highlighting the importance for individualized interventions.
Sense of competence defines a caregiver’s feeling of being capable to manage the caregiving task and is an important clinical concept in the caregiving literature. The aim of this review was to identify the factors, both positive and negative, associated with a caregiver’s perception of their sense of competence.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted, retrieving both quantitative and qualitative papers from databases PsycINFO, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Medline. A quality assessment was conducted using the STROBE and CASP checklists, and the quality rating informed the inclusion of papers ensuring the evidence was robust. Narrative synthesis was employed to synthesize the findings and to generate an updated conceptual model of sense of competence.
Seventeen papers were included in the review, all of which were moderate to high quality. These included 13 quantitative, three mixed-methods and one qualitative study. Factors associated with sense of competence included: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), caregiver depression, gratitude, and the ability to find meaning in caregiving.
The results of this review demonstrate that both positive and negative aspects of caring are associated with caregiver sense of competence. Positive and negative aspects of caregiving act in tandem to influence caregiver perception of their competence. The proposed model of sense of competence aims to guide future research and clinical interventions aimed at improving this domain but requires further testing, as due to the observational nature of the include papers, the direction of causality could not be inferred.
Visual hallucinations are a common symptom in dementia and Parkinson’s disease and have been associated with greater cognitive and functional decline, but optimal management strategies are unclear. We review the frequency and pathogenesis of visual hallucinations in dementia and Parkinson’s disease and examine the evidence base for their management.
We undertook a systematic review of the visual hallucinations in dementia, searching studies published between January 1980 and July 2017 using PubMed with the search terms visual hallucinations AND review AND (dementia OR parkinson*).
We found 645 articles and screened them for relevance, finally including 89 papers (11 meta-analyses, 34 randomized controlled trials, six other trials and a number of relevant review articles). Only six of the trials reported visual hallucination outcomes separately from other neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Atypical antipsychotics were frequently studied, but with the exception of clozapine in Parkinson’s disease dementia, results were equivocal. There was some evidence that acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may help visual hallucinations. Overall, effect sizes for most treatments were small and there were few studies with long term follow up. Treatments need to be carefully weighed up with the risks and reviewed often, and many patients improved without treatment. There is a lack of data regarding visual hallucinations due to the grouping of psychotic symptoms together in commonly used rating scales. The lack of a specific rating scales, or analyzable items within other scales, for visual hallucinations, limited efficacy of current and small evidence base with short follow up are important areas for future studies to address.
It is well established that there is a high prescribing rate of psychotropic agents in residential aged care (RAC). The appropriateness of these medications has become controversial, given the limited data on efficacy and growing evidence of associated adverse outcomes.
To assess psychotropic prescribing in RAC including identification of potentially inappropriate prescriptions (PIPs) and common psychological and behavioral symptoms indicated for prescribing. These were viewed in context of dementia and different RAC facilities.
Electronic care plans of 779 RAC residents across 12 facilities were examined to elucidate psychotropic prescribing rates, PIPs, and indications for use.
One in two residents (48.1%) were prescribed a psychotropic drug. The primary reasons for prescribing were depression (61.5%), anxiety (26.7%), sleep problems (25.4%), agitation (13.7%), psychosis (11.0%), and other behaviors (7.2%). Residents with dementia (56.6%) were more likely to be prescribed a drug for agitation and psychosis, and had a significantly increased prescription rate for antidepressants (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.08–2.08, p = 0.01) and antipsychotics (OR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.23–2.88, p < 0.01). Conversely, residents with dementia were less likely to receive medication to combat sleeping difficulties, with significantly lower benzodiazepine prescribing (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.44–0.91, p = 0.01). Over half of all psychotropic prescriptions (54.0%) were potentially inappropriate based on the Beers Criteria. There was high variability of prescribing rates between homes.
There is a high prescribing rate of potentially inappropriate medications. Residents with dementia are more likely to receive medication for agitation and psychosis, and are less likely to receive medication to combat sleeping difficulties.
To revise an abbreviated version of the Silhouettes subtest of the Visual Object and Space Perception (VOSP) battery in order to recognize mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and determine the optimal cutoffs to differentiate among cognitively normal controls (NC), MCI, and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in the Chinese elderly.
A cross-sectional validation study.
Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China.
A total of 591 participants: Individuals with MCI (n = 211), AD (n = 139) and NC (n = 241) were recruited from the Memory Clinic, Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China.
Baseline neuropsychological battery (including VOSP) scores were collected from firsthand data. An abbreviated version of silhouettes test (Silhouettes-A) was revised from the original English version more suitable for the elderly, including eight silhouettes of animals and seven silhouettes of inanimate objects, with a score ranging from 0 to 15.
Silhouettes-A was an effective test to screen MCI in the Chinese elderly with good sensitivity and specificity, similar to the Montreal cognitive assessment and superior to other single tests reflecting language, spatial, or executive function. However, it had no advantage in distinguishing MCI from AD. The corresponding optimal cutoff scores of Silhouettes-A were 10 for screening MCI and 8 for AD.
Silhouettes-A is a quick, simple, sensitive, and dependable cognitive test to distinguish among NC, MCI, and AD patients.
Various art programs are available for people with dementia. These have been shown to contribute to the patient’s quality of life. But are all types of art suitable for this purpose and for the target group? This study investigated whether responsiveness during museum programs depends on the type of art work shown and/or characteristics of the person with dementia, such as severity of dementia or specific cognitive impairments.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in which the responsiveness of people with dementia to different types of art was investigated as part of a study into the implementation of the Unforgettable program, an interactive guided museum tour program in Dutch museums for people with dementia.
The appreciative and active responsiveness and interaction with others during the program appeared related to the severity of dementia, to specific cognitive impairments, and to type of artworks. People with more severe dementia responded less to art than people with mild dementia. Artworks with more natural elements revealed less interaction with others. Artifacts (i.e., objects not originally meant as artworks) evoked more reactions than artworks.
The study results are important to take into account when designing and offering art programs for people with dementia. Knowing which type of art works appeals most to (subgroups of) people with dementia will contribute to the optimization of art programs for this target group and to their active participation in such programs.
There is a need to improve dementia education to prepare future generations of healthcare professionals to deal with the increasing challenges they will face. Time for Dementia is an innovative undergraduate education program for medical, nursing, and paramedic students in the south of England. Success of the program is dependent upon the participation of families (people with dementia and their carers). This qualitative study seeks to explore the motivation and experiences of the families taking part in the program.
A topic guide was developed to understand factors influencing motivation and retention. A purposeful sample of participant families, who had at least 12 months of involvement in the program, were selected from a cohort of 282 families and were invited to take part in an in-depth qualitative interview. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using thematic analysis. This was subsequently refined in an on-going process of analysis aided by the use of Nvivo 11. Interviewing stopped when thematic saturation was reached.
Eighteen families took part in an in-depth qualitative interviews. Four themes were identified from the analysis. These themes were motivators, value to family, value to the person with dementia, and student factors.
This study identifies underpinning factors that motivate families to join dementia education programs and the impact of such programs upon them. We found that engagement in such programs can have therapeutic benefits to participants, and do not cause harm. These findings can be used to strengthen recruitment and enhance family involvement in similar programs.
Delirium is a complex clinical syndrome characterized by disturbed consciousness, cognitive function, or perception and associated with serious adverse outcomes such as death, dementia, and the need for long-term care. However, recognition and management of delirium is poorly prioritized even though it is the most frequent complication among patients undergoing surgery following hip fracture. The aim of this study was to understand clinicians’ from orthopedic speciality perceptions in relation to recognition, diagnosis, and management of delirium.
This was a qualitative study using in-depth focus groups discussions with clinical staff of one orthopedic unit within a level 1 trauma center, south of Adelaide, South Australia.
A total number of 17 individuals (14 nurses, 1 geriatric registrar, 1 nursing manager, and 1 speech therapist) participated in the focus groups. Four major themes were identified: (1) Delirium is important but can be hard to recognize and validate; (2) ambiguity on the use of delirium screening tool; (3) need of designated delirium care pathway; and (4) vital role of the family. Despite the initial lack of agreement on use of the objective tool to screen delirium, nurses did propose a number of ways that formal delirium screening could be included in routine nursing duties and existing nursing documentation.
Although orthopedic nurses aim to provide effective care to patients experiencing delirium symptoms following hip fracture, they are doing so in the absence of structured screening, assessment, and multidisciplinary team approach. This study emphasizes the various barriers which need to be considered before attempting to change practice in this important area.
As a degenerative disease, the progression of dementia needs continued care provision and poses both psychological and financial burden for family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD). This study seeks to compare predictors of care costs and caregiver burden, and to identify modifiable factors that could alleviate the burden faced by dementia caregivers.
This study interviewed 231 PWD–caregiver dyads in a dementia clinic at a teaching hospital in southern Taiwan in 2013. A follow-up study was conducted a year later, and 167 dyads completed the second interview. Data collected included PWD characteristics, caregiver characteristics, relationship to PWD, and social support to caregivers. Caregiver burden was measured with the Zarit Burden Interview instrument. The association between each predictor variable and cost of care and caregiver burden scores was examined using linear mixed models.
Predictors of care costs were found to be different from predictors of caregiver burden: functional declines measured by Katz’s activities of daily living (ADL) scale were associated with total cost as compared to behavioral disturbance measured by Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), which showed no impact on care costs. However, NPI was a significant predictor of caregiver burden. Caregivers who were better-off financially also reported significantly lower caregiver burden.
Since predictors of care costs were different from the predictors of caregiver burden, providing training to caregivers in addressing PWD’s behavioral disturbance and proving financial assistance to low income caregivers could be effective in reducing caregiver burden.
Associations between high body mass index (BMI) and subsequent cognitive decline, reported in elderly averaging below age 75, become less consistent at older ages. We compared the associations of BMI with cognition in moderately old (ages 75–84, N = 154) and oldest-old (85+, N = 93) samples. BMI and cognition were assessed cross-sectionally in cognitively intact elderly (mean age = 84.5, SD = 4.4) male veterans. Regression analyses of three cognitive domains — executive functions/language, attention, and memory—compared relationship with BMI between the moderately old and oldest-old. Higher BMI was associated with relatively poorer executive functions/language performance in the moderately old, while the opposite relationship, higher BMI associated with relatively better performance, was found in the oldest-old. Associations for the other two cognitive domains did not differ significantly between age groups. The reversal of association direction for executive functions/language performance with higher BMI is consistent with the protected survivor model. This model posits a minority subpopulation with a protective factor—genetic or otherwise—against both mortality and cognitive decline associated with risk factor status. The very old who remain cognitively intact despite the presence of risk factors are more likely to possess protection.
This study aimed at assessing daily physical activity and its relationship with functional and cognitive status in nonagenarians. Cross-sectional study. 167 nonagenarians (124 women and 43 men, mean age 92 years ± 3) who participated in the Mugello study. Participants underwent daily step count through the SenseWear armband, which was considered as an indicator of physical activity. Other main variables were: handgrip strength, gait speed, depression, cognitive status and quality of life. The median value of steps per day was 883 and 658 in women and men, respectively, with a participant, in the women group, showing values up to 10,000. After adjusting for potential confounders, physical activity remained a significant positive correlate of handgrip strength (r = 0.4), gait speed (r = 0.8), and cognitive status (r = 0.6 and 0.8, respectively for raw scores and for scores adjusted for age and education). On the contrary, physical activity remained a significant negative correlate of depression (r = 0.5). Our results provide quantitative information on daily physical activity and show a significant relationship between daily physical activity and functional and cognitive status in nonagenarians.