Modification of Everyday Activities and its Association with Self-Awareness in Cognitively Diverse Older Adults

Abstract [from journal]

Cognitive impairment (CI) in older adults is frequently accompanied by difficulty performing complex everyday activities (e.g., managing finances). However, it is unclear if and how older adults with CI modify their activities (i.e., Do individuals continue, monitor, seek help with, change their approach to, or stop different activities?). In the current study, we examined if older adults with CI are concerned about their ability to carry out complex activities, if and how they modify activities based on their concern, and the factors associated with activity modification. We hypothesized that older adults with CI will more frequently be concerned about, and modify, everyday activities than cognitively healthy (HE) older adults, and that higher awareness of memory loss in the CI group would relate to more frequent modification. The sample included 81 older adults (51 HEs; mean age 70.02 (7.34) and 30 CI; mean age 75.97 (8.12)). Compared to HEs, the CI group reported having more concern about, F(3,77) = 5.50, p = 0.02, and modifying a greater number of activities, F(3,77) = 5.02, p = 0.03. Medication management (30%) and completing taxes (33.3%) were among the most frequently modified activities for the CI and HE groups, respectively. In the CI group, higher memory awareness was associated with more concern (r = .53, p = .005) and activity modification (r = 0.55, p = .003). Findings provide novel information about how cognitively diverse older adults navigate complex activities in daily life. We propose a preliminary theoretical model by which self-awareness may influence navigation of everyday activities in the context of CI.