Elderly sought for study on daily living

Tuesday, 29 July 2003

Could speed of thought and memory be the key to helping elderly people cope better in their day-to-day lives?

That's the question being asked by two University of Adelaide PhD students.

Sara Howard and Tess O'Connor, from the University of Adelaide's Department of Psychology, are hoping to discover what common factors influence elderly people's day-to-day functioning. Their results could help improve the quality of life for elderly people in the future.

People aged 70 and above from metropolitan Adelaide are invited to take part in the new study.

"The key issue we're interested in is what determines how well people can function in everyday life," says Sara Howard.

"Can you still drive a car, cook, clean the house, do the shopping, pay the bills and function independently in your own home? Many elderly people have no difficulty doing these things, while others are less confident, and we would like to examine what determines these differences."

The students suspect a combination of health, physical state, and thought processes will predict the "functioning level" of an elderly person - that is, what they are able to achieve on a daily basis.

"However, we also suspect that a large number of other considerations like gender, diet and overall quality of life will play a role," Miss Howard says.

The students aim to use simple tests that they hope can predict everyday functioning outcomes. "The key to this might be speed of thought or how well someone can remember new information for short periods of time," Tess O'Connor says.

Elderly adults (70+ years) based in Adelaide are invited to participate in the study.

The study will involve completing questionnaires about diet, life satisfaction, motivation, activities of daily living (such as cooking), and health. It will take into consideration simple cognitive measures (such as vocabulary, general knowledge, memory, speed of thought, reasoning and paying attention) and physical measures (such as height, blood pressure, and hand strength).

The identity of all participants will be kept confidential, and the results of the study will be made available to everyone who participates.

For more information, or to participate in the study, call 8303 3055.

 

Contact Details

Dr Tess Gregory
Email: tess.gregory@adelaide.edu.au
Research Associate
School of Psychology
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3055


Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762