Cognitive decline impacts older adults, particularly their independence. The goal of this project was to increase understanding of how short-term, everyday lifestyle options, including physical activity, help an older adult sustain cognitive independence. Using a secondary analysis of lifestyle choices, we drew on a dataset of 4,620 community-dwelling elders in the US, assessed at baseline and one year later using 2 valid and reliable tools, the interRAI Community Health Assessment and the interRAI Wellness tool. Decline or no decline on the Cognitive Performance Scale was the dependent variable. We examined sustaining one's status on this measure over a one-year period in relation to key dimensions of wellness through intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual variables. Engaging in physical activity, formal exercise, and specific recreational activities had a favorable effect on short-term cognitive decline. Involvement with computers, crossword puzzles, handicrafts, and formal education courses also were protective factors. The physical and intellectual domains of wellness are prominent aspects in protection from cognitive decline. Inherent in these two domains are mutable factors suitable for targeted efforts to promote older adult health and well-being.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)