Cognitive maintenance of older adults in long -term care

Date
1999-08-30
Authors
Byrnes, Kathleen
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to provide a description of the resources, programs, and activities in long-term care facilities that are directed toward maintaining cognitive functioning of older adult residents. The purpose of this study was also to ascertain what programs, activities, and resources are available in long-term care facilities for residents with intact cognitive abilities. Data were collected from the administrators of the 1,166 long-term care facilities currently licensed in the state of Texas. The sample of the population for this study included 10 randomly selected long-term care facilities within a 30 mile radius of Dallas, Texas. A researcher-developed questionnaire was mailed to all 1,166 facility administrators. All questions related to the presence or absence of resources, programs, and activities in long-term care facilities directed toward maintaining the cognitive functioning of older adults. The 10 randomly selected long-term care facilities were visited by the researcher to conduct observations. The researcher completed an observation checklist during a standard tour of each facility. Of the 1,166 original questionnaires mailed, 557 returned responses. A response rate of 47% was obtained. Results from the questionnaire and observation checklist were analyzed and used to address the following research questions: (1) Does the long-term care facility provide programs, activities, and resources for residents to maintain individual levels of cognitive functioning? (2) Does the facility provide an environment for residents that promotes autonomy? (3) Does the facility provide programs and activities that maintain resident awareness and orientation? and (4) Does the facility promote interaction between residents and the outside community? Overall, the results of the study indicated a considerable difference between the survey and observation findings. A synthesis of results indicated that some variety of group activities are offered for older adults in long-term care, but activities for the purpose of maintaining cognitive functioning do not appear to be promoted. A clear, concise answer to the second and third questions was not possible due to the differing results obtained. Findings related to the last question reflect that the majority of facilities do not promote interaction between residents and the community.

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Keywords
Social sciences, Psychology, Cognitive maintenance, Long-term care, Older adults
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