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Many older adults experience memory changes that can have a meaningful impact on their everyday lives, such as restrictions to lifestyle activities and negative emotions. Older adults also report a variety of positive coping responses that help them manage these changes. The purpose of this study was to determine how objective cognitive performance and self-reported memory are related to the everyday impact of memory change.
We examined these associations in a sample of 94 older adults (age 60–89, 52% female) along a cognitive ability continuum from normal cognition to mild cognitive impairment.
Correlational analyses revealed that greater restrictions to lifestyle activities (|rs| = .36–.66), more negative emotion associated with memory change (|rs| = .27–.76), and an overall greater burden of memory change on everyday living (|rs| = .28–.61) were associated with poorer objective memory performance and lower self-reported memory ability and satisfaction. Performance on objective measures of executive attention was unrelated to the impact of memory change. Self-reported strategy use was positively related to positive coping with memory change (|r| = .26), but self-reported strategy use was associated with more negative emotions regarding memory change (|r| = .23).
Given the prevalence of memory complaints among older adults, it is important to understand the experience of memory change and its impact on everyday functioning in order to develop services that target the specific needs of this population.
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