Dementia Diagnosis Lowers Self-Perceived Quality of Life

Monday, August 7, 2017

A study out of Pennsylvania found that a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may decrease a person’s subjective perception of wellbeing. Individuals that knew of their diagnosis were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and low quality of life than their cognitively normal counterparts. In addition, persons with cognitive impairment diagnoses that believed their condition would deteriorate over their life span experienced lower day-to-day satisfaction. “These findings suggest that a patient's quality of life could be impacted by a diagnostic label and their expectations for the prognosis,” stated lead researcher Shana Stites. With new technology able to diagnose dementia earlier and earlier, seniors may live many years knowing about their diagnosis; this is beneficial for the disease progression and planning for the future, but comes with its own challenges. Study participants answered quality of life-related questions and researchers found that those who were aware of their diagnosis, regardless of cognitive abilities, reported lower overall wellbeing. It is unclear, however, whether the “cognitively normal” control participants were actually cognitively healthy or were experiencing cognitive difficulties, but remained undiagnosed. “… When you give someone a diagnosis you're also communicating, either directly or indirectly, a lot of information that can affect the activities people do in daily life, their planning for employment and lifestyle, emotional wellbeing, and social relationships with close friends and family members. These issues need to be explicitly addressed with patients,” Stites explained. The team will be exploring the stereotypes and attitudes around dementia in future studies.

SOURCE: Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170803103137.htm

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Oxford Academic: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx100

DATE RETRIEVED: August 4, 2017

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