Cognitive Ability as a Resource for Everyday Functioning among Older Adults Who Are Visually Impaired

By Heyl, Vera; Wahl, Hans-Werner | Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, July 2010 | Go to article overview

Cognitive Ability as a Resource for Everyday Functioning among Older Adults Who Are Visually Impaired


Heyl, Vera, Wahl, Hans-Werner, Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness


Abstract: This article reports on a study that investigated the role of cognitive resources in the everyday functioning of 121 older adults who were visually impaired and 150 sighted older adults, with a mean age of 82 years. Cognitive performance and everyday functioning were most strongly related in the group who were visually impaired. The authors conclude that cognitive training enhances independent living skills.

**********

There is robust evidence that higher cognitive functioning is substantially related to higher everyday functioning among older adults (see, for example, Diehl et al., 2005; Heyl, Wahl, & Mollenkopf, 2005). Most studies in this field of research have used behavior-oriented self-report measures, including activities of We thank the German Research Foundation for supporting this research with Grant WA 809/7-1 awarded to Hans-Werner Wahl. We extend our appreciation to Jost Jonas and Klaus Rohrschneider, who provided tremendous support in generating the sample of older adults with visual impairments. We also thank our project staff', particularly Nadine Langer and Christina Hunger, and the participants, who invested their time and energy to serve our research. daily living (ADLs), such as dressing; instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) like preparing meals; and leisure activities (such as participating in sports) to assess everyday functioning. The relationship between cognitive functioning and the subjective evaluation of everyday functioning, that is, the individual's beliefs about being able to fulfill his or her day-to-day duties, has received less research attention. However, cognitive capacity may nurture such beliefs, since there is evidence that intellectual functioning is related to control beliefs regarding everyday cognitive tasks (such as remembering names) that are relevant to everyday functioning (Lachman & Left, 1989). Moreover, Seeman, McAvay, Merrill, Albert, and Rodin (1996) found that the cognitive ability of abstraction predicted higher instrumental efficacy beliefs (that is, beliefs about the ability to deal with instrumental aspects of one's life, such as arranging transportation) 2.5 years later.

Although it seems justified to consider cognitive functioning as a resource for everyday functioning among older individuals, it is not clear whether cognitive functioning is comparably important for the everyday functioning of older adults with and without major chronic conditions, such as vision loss. This question of cognitive functioning is crucial, however, since it has practical implications for tailoring interventions to the needs of older clients most efficiently and since visual impairment is common in old age. The prevalence of severe vision loss in older adults, which is prototypically due to age-related macular degeneration, is about 25% among those aged 75 and older (Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group, 2004). Therefore, the aims of the study presented here were to determine the importance of cognitive resources for everyday functioning among older persons who are visually impaired and to extend knowledge on the subjective component of everyday functioning.

Studies that have addressed the role of visual impairment for the independent everyday functioning of older adults have consistently found a strong negative impact of vision loss, particularly on IADLs and out-of-home activities (for a review, see Burmedi, Becker, Heyl, Wahl, & Himmelsbach, 2002; Whitson et al., 2007). Since vision loss clearly threatens the functional autonomy of older adults, resources that are relevant to everyday functioning (such as cognitive functioning) may be of greater importance for those who are visually impaired than for those who are sighted. Because of reduced sensory input, older persons who are visually impaired may have to rely more on their cognitive resources when performing ADLs, IADLs, and leisure activities. As a consequence, their subjective evaluation of everyday functioning may also depend more strongly on cognitive functioning than may the subjective evaluation of sighted older adults. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cognitive Ability as a Resource for Everyday Functioning among Older Adults Who Are Visually Impaired
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.