Purpose of the study: Using the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), we examined activity preferences and participation among individuals with and without cognitive impairments. Design and methods: Respondents were classified as having No Dementia (n = 5,264), Possible Dementia (n = 893), or Probable Dementia (n = 518). Respondents rated importance of and actual participation (yes/no) in four activities (visiting friends/family, religious services, clubs/classes, going out for enjoyment). We also examined whether transportation or health limited participation. Results: Overall, visiting friends/family was most important (64.03%); although relative importance of activities varied with cognitive status. Compared to cognitively healthy individuals, those with possible and probable dementia were less likely to indicate activities were important and engage in valued activities (ps < .0001). Additionally, poor health limited participation in activities for those cognitively intact or with possible dementia; this was not true for those with probable dementia. Transportation difficulty limited going out for enjoyment for a greater percentage of those with cognitive impairment than those without impairment. Implications: Regardless of cognitive level, older adults highly value activities; however, actual participation may decrease with greater impairment in cognitive and physical health and with transportation challenges. Developing tailored interventions for specific populations to achieve desired activity goals is needed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology