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Older Adults Who Have Everyday Memory Problems Focus of New University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing Study

Posted: Aug. 19, 2010

Dr. Graham McDougall

Dr. Graham McDougall

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing is conducting a one-year memory improvement study for adults 60 years and older who are experiencing everyday memory problems.

The $65,000 study is funded by the St. David's Community Health Foundation and is open to the public. Participants will be tested before and after they take memory improvement classes.

They will attend eight classes and have two interviews over two months. Testing and interviews will be conducted at the Rebekah Baines Johnson Tower, a private residential tower for senior living in downtown Austin.

"Studies have shown that memory impairment in primary care is the second most expensive cost following low back pain," said Dr. Graham McDougall, a professor of nursing who developed the evidence-based memory training protocol, SeniorWISE. Participants also will have an opportunity to learn yoga. Studies have shown that memory performance is enhanced by relaxation.

Funding from the St. David's Foundation will provide the resources to adapt and deliver SeniorWISE to a new group of older adults with poor memory functioning, McDougall said.

"The funding," he said, "matches the foundation's program goal that helps older adults 60 years and older maintain independence."

SeniorWISE has been featured on The Today Show and in Oprah Magazine. The American Society on Aging with support from the MetLife Foundation recently announced the program was selected as a recipient of the 2010 MindAlert award in the mental fitness general category.

"Mental stimulation and memory training may enable individuals who have memory loss to adapt and cope with their symptoms and avoid premature nursing home placement," said McDougall.

For more information about enrolling in the study, call Stella Beard at the Rebekah Baines Johnson Tower at 512-992-2756.