Amanda MacNeil, Doctoral Student, M.S.
Cleveland State University
OAGE Aging and Innovation Student Award
Proposal title: The Illness Experience of Dementia: What Impacts Well-Being?
Abstract: Research including individuals with dementia has increasingly regarded the illness experience, how individuals perceive and cope with their illness. When assessing this, it is important to consider various aspects of the illness, including objective cognitive impairment, perceptions of difficulties, and distress resulting from these difficulties. Mixed evidence has been found between objective cognitive impairment and well-being outcomes, warranting further investigation. Additionally, prior research suggests that perceptions are impactful for well-being outcomes such as depressive symptoms but has not addressed the well-being outcomes of quality of life and anxiety symptoms. No prior research has focused on the distress caused by perceiving difficulties and this may be an important piece in understanding well-being outcomes. This study will address a range of experiences and symptoms including objective cognitive impairment, perceptions about difficulties in the areas of memory, the dyadic relationship, self-efficacy, and distress resulting from these perceptions. Guided by the model, considering various domains of the illness experience will allow for a more complex understanding of what it is like to live with dementia. This will also allow for person-centered care and tailored interventions. Reviewing prior literature and highlighting promising future directions, this poster will provide an overview of a grant-funded dissertation project.