Role of cognitive resources on everyday functioning among oldest-old physically frail

Lucile Dupuy, Bernard N’Kaoua, Patrick Dehail, Hélène Sauzéon
Aging Clin Exp Res. 2019-10-24; :
DOI: 10.1007/s40520-019-01384-3

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BACKGROUND: Everyday functioning becomes a challenge with aging, particularly among frail oldest-old adults. Several factors have been identified as influencing everyday activities realization, including physical and cognitive functioning. However, the influence of cognitive resources as a compensatory factor in the context of physical frailty deserves further consideration.

AIMS: This study aims to investigate in older adults physically frail the possible compensatory role of cognitive resources to perform everyday tasks.

METHODS: Two groups of community-dwelling old participants (n = 26 per group) matched for their age and cognitive resources, have been drawn according to their level of physical functioning. Two measures of everyday functioning have been assessed: one self-reported by the participant (the IADL scale) and one performance-based measure (the TIADL tasks).

RESULTS: Participants performed equally the TIADL tasks irrespective of their physical condition. Contrariwise, participants with low physical functioning reported more everyday difficulties than their counterparts with a high level of physical functioning. Additionally, regressions analyses revealed differential influence of cognitive resources on performance and reported measures of everyday functioning.

DISCUSSION: Our data suggests that cognitive resources are more strongly involved in the performance-based IADL measure in situation of physical frailty. Additionally, for participants with low physical functioning, lower cognitive resources are associated with more perceived difficulties in everyday life.

CONCLUSION: These results highlight the compensatory role of cognitive resources in physically frail older adults, and suggest that an overestimation of everyday difficulties compared to performance on IADL tasks is an early indicator of physical decline and cognitive compensation.

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus