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