Health quality of life in older adults at risk for dementia
LaRuffa, Gia M.
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Dementia is a growing public health concern. Recently, work in the early detection of dementia, or on the preclinical stage, has been expanding. Specifically, attention has been given to investigating the neuropsychological indicators of preclinical dementia or for those at-risk. This cross-sectional study sought to expand this current line of work by examining the relationship between risk for dementia and health quality of life (HQOL) in a sample of 292 community-dwelling older adults (ages 70 to 95) from the Bronx, NY. Specifically, it assessed if risk for dementia, as defined by the Blessed Information-Memory-Concentration Test (BIMC), was related to physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) HQOL as measured by the Short Form-36 (SF-36). In addition, memory/learning ability, as defined by the Free Recall score on the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSR) was examined in relation to HQOL. Results of univariate analyses suggested no significant mean difference on PCS between those at high-risk for dementia (n = 129) as compared to those at low-risk for dementia ( n = 163), although the direction was as predicted, meaning that those at high-risk reported a poorer PCS than those at low-risk. A significant mean difference was found between the high-risk and low-risk groups for MCS, indicating that those at high-risk for dementia reported a poorer MCS than those at low-risk. Two hierarchical multiple regressions were performed with results indicating that a poorer performance on Free Recall did not amplify the HQOL outcomes in those at high-risk for dementia. In addition, the main effects of risk status and Free Recall scores were not significant. Age, pre-morbid intelligence, and number of medications were the only variables to predict PCS while no variables contributed to the prediction of MCS in this sample. The present findings run contrary to a large portion of previous research and may be due to the cross-sectional design of the study, the inclusion of many demographics in the models, and lack of awareness of HQOL in those at high-risk for dementia. Recommendations for future research and clinical implications of the findings are provided.
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