Predictive factors for dementia and cognitive impairment among residents living in the veterans' retirement communities in Taiwan: Implications for cognitive health promotion activities

Liang-Yu Chen, Yi-Hui Wu, Chung-Yu Huang, Li-Kuo Liu, An-Chun Hwang, Li-Ning Peng, Ming-Hsieh Lin, Liang-Kung Chen
Geriatrics & Gerontology International 2017, 17 Suppl 1: 7-13

AIM: To identify potentially modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline among veterans' home residents in Taiwan METHODS: The present retrospective cohort study was part of the Veteran Affairs-Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment study that retrieved data of the comprehensive geriatric assessment for 946 residents living at four veterans' homes in Taiwan. The study participants were interviewed every 3-6 months from January 2012 and December 2014. Demographic characteristics,multimorbidity by Charlson's Comorbidities Index, physical function by the Barthel Index, cognition by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), depression by the five-item Geriatric Depression Scale and nutritional status by the Mini-Nutrition Assessment-Short Form were collected for analysis. A generalized estimating equation model was used after it was adjusted for age, educational level, five-item Geriatric Depression Scale, and problem of communication difficulty to identify potential modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline.

RESULTS: The mean age of the participants was 85.7 ± 5.2 years, with a mean follow-up period of 41 ± 21.6 weeks. The prevalence of cognitive impairment (defined by MMSE <24) was 65.6%, whereas 34% of the study participants were positive for depressive symptoms. Approximately one-fifth of the study participants were using psychotropic agents, which was higher among participants with cognitive impairment (23.6% vs 15.6%, P < 0.05) than those without. In the generalized estimating equation model, physical function, nutritional status, depressive symptoms, ex-drinker, multimorbidity and stool incontinence were positively correlated with MMSE score; whereas advanced age, low educational level (<6 years), presence of communication difficulty and use of psychotropic agents were inversely associated with the MMSE score.

CONCLUSIONS: Physical function and nutritional status were positively associated with the MMSE score, and use of psychotropic agents was negatively correlated with cognitive function. Further intervention study is required to improve the cognitive health of older adults living in the veterans' retirement communities. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017: 17 (Suppl. 1): 7-13.

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