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2011 Grants - Glymour
Social Resources That Preserve Functional Independence After Memory Loss
Medellena M. Glymour, Sc.D.
Harvard University School of Public Health
2011 Investigator –Initiated Research Grant
Memory impairments associated with Alzheimer's disease eventually result in the inability to independently manage daily activities, thus compromising quality of life for the person with Alzheimer's and family members. However, many resources may assist individuals with Alzheimer's in maintaining independence. Identifying such "resilience factors" would be very helpful to prioritize resources to offer families facing Alzheimer's or other dementias.
Medella M. Glymour, Sc.D., and colleagues plan to use a large, diverse longitudinal study of middle-aged and older Americans to identify social factors that help individuals preserve functional independence even when declining memory or severe memory impairment is present. Several factors that may help in maintaining independence will be considered: personal characteristics (socioeconomic status and health behaviors), family factors (marital status, proximity of other family and contact with friends), and community conditions (region of the U.S., neighborhood density and walkability, age distribution of the neighborhood population and respondent ties/relations with neighbors and neighborhood).
The goal of this research is to identify resources that will help patients and families preserve independence and the highest possible quality of life. Findings from this research can help provide guidance to individuals and families as well as clinicians and policymakers.