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Research Focus: Mild cognitive impairment

The current trend considers a more heterogeneous overview of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as functional decline, rather solely memory loss. This digest reviews three recent papers that factor ageing, amnesia, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease on people with MCI. Compiled by Kathy Davis, nurse researcher at The Children’s Trust in Tadworth, Surrey, and independent specialist nurse consultant in colorectal and pelvic floor disorders in Wimbledon, London.  
Cognitive impairment

The ongoing trend considers a more heterogeneous overview of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as functional decline, rather solely memory loss. MCI is a common phenomenon in older people. Current evidence refutes this. This digest reviews three recent papers that factor ageing, amnesia, dementia and Alzheimers disease on people with MCI.

Mild cognitive impairment is associated with falls among older adults: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing

This first wave survey was conducted using a computerised Assisted Personal Interviewing with 5364 older adults aged over 50 and some partners and carers during 2009-10. Individuals unable to give consent due to severe cognitive impairment were excluded.

There was a 62% response rate. The survey explored the number of falls and non-accidental falls, memory and functional ability, sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics, muscle strength and performance, obesity and medical history.

Descriptive and

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The ongoing trend considers a more heterogeneous overview of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as functional decline, rather solely memory loss. MCI is a common phenomenon in older people. Current evidence refutes this. This digest reviews three recent papers that factor ageing, amnesia, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease on people with MCI. 


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Mild cognitive impairment is associated with falls among older adults: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing 

This first wave survey was conducted using a computerised Assisted Personal Interviewing with 5364 older adults aged over 50 and some partners and carers during 2009-10. Individuals unable to give consent due to severe cognitive impairment were excluded.

There was a 62% response rate. The survey explored the number of falls and non-accidental falls, memory and functional ability, sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics, muscle strength and performance, obesity and medical history.

Descriptive and statistical analyses found a strong association between MCI and falls supporting previous studies. It also highlighted the potential importance of falls prevention through the earlier detection and management of MCI.

Tyrovolas S, Koyanagi A, Lara E et al (2016) Experimental Gerontology. 75, 42-47.


Caring for a person with amnestic mild cognitive impairment

A Canadian, phenomenological study explored the nature and experiences of the carers of people with MCI. A purposeful sampling technique saw the recruitment of five participants.

A thematic semi structured interview design was used to gain a deeper understanding of the essence of each carer’s experience.

The phenomenon of ‘wearing multiple masks’ emerged from the analysis. Various excerpts described this in relation to building a protective identity, masking loss and anticipatory grief and the burden, uncertainty and fluctuating nature of MCI.

As an emerging area of research the findings demonstrate the need for further studies that may assist and reduce the longer term burden of caregiver, particularly for patients that ultimately go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Woolmore-Goodwin S, Kloseck M, Zecevic A et al (2016) American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. 31, 2, 124-131.


How older adults with mild cognitive impairment relate to technology as part of present and future everyday life: a qualitative study

The views and experiences of six people with MCI aged between 61 and 86 years of age who fulfilled an inclusion criterion that comprised being users of everyday technologies (such as internet banking, watching TV, household gadgets, mobile phones) were explored in this Swedish study.

Each participant was interviewed twice to avoid potential interview fatigue and facilitate richer, in-depth data. A thematic grounded theory approach to analysis identified a continuum of three different ways of relating to the use of present and potential future technology, ranging from downsizing through retaining to updating. 

As abilities changed or declined ongoing creative and often parallel solutions were shared in relation to finding new ways of using or not using everyday and assisted living technologies.

Hedman A, Lindqvist E, Nygard L (2016) Open Access BMC Geriatrics. 16, 73.

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