Background & Goal
Older adults frequently deal with anxiety linked to memory lapses. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey found that 11% of Americans aged 45 and older reported subjective cognitive decline, but 54% of those who reported it had not consulted a health care professional (Taylor et al., 2018). SeniorWISE strives to improve memory skills and performance, and change the negative beliefs about cognitive aging of older adults and, in doing so, reduce their stress levels.
Senior WISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration) is focused on modifying risk factors and developing interventions to improve the everyday memory function of older adults across the cognitive spectrum. Participants learn to deal with anxiety linked to memory lapses via the use of attention-focusing, memory strategy training, repeated practice, relevant modeling by others like themselves, and realistic expectations about cognitive abilities with age. The intervention was designed for various environments where older adults live, recreate and work and it emphasizes maintenance of the instrumental activities of daily living, e.g., reading a prescription label and dialing the pharmacy to order a refill. Senior WISE was implemented in Cleveland, Ohio (1996-1998) with 175 older adults; Central Texas (2001-2011) with 420 older adults; and Arkansas (2007-2011) with 114 older adults, and Austin, Texas with 133 octogenarians (2011-2012).