“I guess you can interpret it in a number of ways like kind of a milder or the mildest form of dementia?”: Multi-stakeholder perceptions of cognitive impairment
Introduction: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has a high prevalence and is a risk factor for dementia. Furthering understanding of MCI has been identified as a public health priority. This research aimed to explore views about the causes of cognitive impairment and identify associations between cognitive impairment, dementia, and normative ageing.
Method: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 22 participants with different stakeholder perspectives on the area of MCI in England, and analysed thematically.
Results: Our analysis focuses on two main themes: 1) causes of cognitive impairment, and 2) ageing, dementia, and dying. Most participants viewed cognitive impairment as a transitional state between normative ageing and dementia. Participants expressed their fear of cognitive impairment and dementia, and made clear links between cognitive impairment and dying. Participants also showed an awareness of the links between lifestyle factors and cognitive health. However, linkage between lifestyle and cognition was discussed only when explicitly asked, suggesting that this was not especially salient for participants when considering the causes and risk factors for cognitive impairment.
Conclusion: The results of this study highlight key areas for future public health initiatives, such as a focus on the multitude of benefits offered by adopting a healthy diet and physical exercise in reducing risk of cognitive impairment.
University of Worcester
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Communication and Media
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© The Author(s)
Publisher statementThis paper was accepted for publication in the journal Dementia and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/14713012231201596. Users who receive access to an article through a repository are reminded that the article is protected by copyright and reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses. Users may also download and save a local copy of an article accessed in an institutional repository for the user's personal reference. For permission to reuse an article, please follow our Process for Requesting Permission: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/process-for-requesting-permission