Aging in Place: Challenges of Older Adults with Self-Reported Cognitive Decline

  • Chantel D. Mayo University of Victoria, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health
  • Rebecca Kenny University of British Columbia
  • Vanessa Scarapicchia University of Victoria, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health
  • Lisa Ohlhauser University of Victoria, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health
  • Robin Syme CanAssist, University of Victoria
  • Jodie R. Gawryluk University of Victoria, CanAssist, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, University of British Columbia
Keywords: aging in place, cognitive decline, caregivers, focus groups

Abstract

Background

An emergent concern related to the aging and the increased risk of cognitive decline is the institutionalization of older adults. Evidence has shown that aging in place leads to many benefits, including higher quality of life. In order to support older adults, it is imperative that we understand the challenges people with changes in cognition face while aging in place.

Methods

A total of sixteen older adults with self-reported cognitive decline and six informal caregivers of individuals reporting cognitive decline, all of whom are living in independent residences, participated. Focus group sessions with semi-structured interviews were conducted, followed by thematic qualitative data analyses.

Results

Thematic analyses led to the identification of six challenges to aging in place, including: 1) memory decline, 2) emotional challenges/low mood, 3) social isolation/loneliness, 4) difficulty with mobility and physical tasks, 5) difficulties with activities of daily living/instrumental activities of daily living, and 6) lack of educational resources on cognitive change.

Conclusion

The themes identified in the current study represent common challenges in aging in place for older adults with self-reported cognitive decline. Identification of these themes allows for important next steps, which can focus on supports through targeted interventions.

Author Biographies

Chantel D. Mayo, University of Victoria, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health

Department of Psychology

Rebecca Kenny, University of British Columbia

Faculty of Medicine

Vanessa Scarapicchia, University of Victoria, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health

Department of Psychology

Lisa Ohlhauser, University of Victoria, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health

Department of Psychology

Jodie R. Gawryluk, University of Victoria, CanAssist, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, University of British Columbia

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, Division of Medical Sciences

Published
2021-05-17
How to Cite
Mayo, C. D., Kenny, R., Scarapicchia, V., Ohlhauser, L., Syme, R., & Gawryluk, J. R. (2021). Aging in Place: Challenges of Older Adults with Self-Reported Cognitive Decline. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 24(2), 138-143. https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.24.456
Section
Original Research