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Keywords:

  • mild cognitive impairment;
  • prevention of dementia;
  • programme evaluation

Abstract

Aim:  The number of elderly people with dementia in Japan is likely to increase as the population ages. In some areas in Tottori Prefecture, dementia-prevention classes have been conducted for several years. In the present study, we evaluated dementia-prevention classes in nine districts of Tottori Prefecture in terms of cognitive function, assessment by the leader and subjective evaluation by participants.

Methods:  The study's subjects included 112 community-dwelling elderly residents who were selected after a two-step screening. Data were collected according to the following four factors: (i) evaluation of cognitive function at the beginning and end of classes; (ii) the content of the classes; (iii) observations regarding the state of subjects; and (iv) participants' subjective evaluation obtained via a questionnaire distributed at the final class.

Results:  In terms of cognitive function among all subjects, scores significantly improved after the dementia-prevention classes. However, there were no significant cognitive improvements in the districts where programmes were biased towards a single category (e.g. systemic exercise, creative activities). Based on class leaders' assessments, subjects showed improved appearance and facial expression in later classes. Participants became more involved in the programmes, and their interests in others increased. In terms of their daily lives, subjects became more involved with others and more active after participating in the classes.

Conclusions:  Dementia-prevention classes improved not only cognitive function but also other aspects of daily life, as well. We thought it was important to evaluate both objective and subjective factors related to the classes.