The Effect of Cognitive Stimulation on Cognition and Depressive Symptomatology in Elderly Community Dwellers

Monday, 9 November 2015: 3:55 PM

Joao Luis Apostolo, PhD, MS, RN, RN
Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing, Nursing School of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Maria Lurdes Almeida, PhD, MS, RN, RN
Elderly Nursing of the Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC), Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC), Coimbra, Portugal
Daniela Cardoso, RN
Portugal Centre for Evidence-Based Practice: an Affiliate Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing (UICISA: E), Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC), Coimbra, Portugal

Background: Population aging has led to an increase in the prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases. Cognitive impairment is increasingly recognized as an important public health issue associated with increased risk for developing dementia. Moreover, clinically relevant depression is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions in life at a later stage. Depressive symptoms in the elderly have been associated with cognitive and functional impairment, particularly on memory and executive functions, thus representing a prodrome or risk factor for dementia. Evidence suggests that cognitive stimulation has a positive effect on cognition and depressive symptomatology in elderly people.

Objective: This study aimed to measure the effectiveness of the Cognitive Stimulation program "Making a Difference" in improving cognition and depressive symptomatology in elderly retired community dwellers.

Method: A multicenter quasi-experimental study sampled 44 elderly community dwellers from four day-care centers (rural, semi-rural and urban) of the central region of Portugal. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the Geriatric Depression Scale were administered at the following two time points: baseline and post-test.

Results: From baseline to post-test, a statistically significant difference was observed in depressive symptoms (F=4.967; p=0.031), explaining 10.4% of the variance (Partial Eta Squared - ηp2=0.104), power=0.59, and cognition (F=6.368; p=0.015), explaining 12.9% of the variance (Partial Eta Squared - ηp2=0.129), power=0.69.

Conclusions: Our results showed an improvement in the cognition and depressive symptomatology of the elderly after a 7-week intervention program. Cognitive stimulation may be a useful tool to be included in the provision of care to older people. It may contribute to prevent depressive vulnerability in the elderly, thus contributing to a higher level of autonomy.