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Annu Rev Nurs Res. 1999;17:219-40.

Cognitive interventions among older adults.


This chapter reviews psychoeducational and/or psychosocial interventions designed to improve cognitive function in adults without cognitive impairment. Included are sections on (a) meta-analyses and other reviews; (b) cognitive aging and cognitive improvement; (c) memory training; (d) depression and memory improvement; (e) self-efficacy and aging memory; (f) maintenance of gains and subject retention; (g) comprehensive memory improvement program; and (h) future research. Several aspects of memory training now known to influence outcomes, i.e., memory performance, need to be considered in future studies. First, follow-up instruction (booster sessions) facilitates the use of these newly learned memory strategies in elders' everyday lives. Second, elders' memory self-efficacy (beliefs and confidence) impacts performance. Third, the inclusion of subjective measures in memory training is recommended. Fourth, greater emphasis needs to be placed on the modification of participants' attitudes toward aging-related memory loss. Fifth, designs must emphasize the long-term outcomes of the memory training. Sixth, establishing a relationship between a memory intervention and functional ability (IADLs) is the next step in assisting older adults to remain independent. If early failure in cognitive ability can be improved through intervention, perhaps early decline in functional independence and the need for formal services, e.g., nursing home placement, can be delayed.

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