CD Attention Trainer Improves Older Adults Memory

Period of Performance: 09/01/2007 - 06/30/2009

$364K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Compact Disc, Inc.
Silver Spring, MD 20905
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Increasing the ability of older adults to live independently is a growing public health priority. Because age- related memory declines intimate risk of dependency, older adults are concerned about their ability to remember information and events of a few hours ago and acts performed even a few moments ago. We propose an innovative CD-DVD/Web Attention Trainer program, aka Attention Works, to improve three basic components of attention, i.e., 1) coordinating, 2) allocating, and 3) focusing, relevant to everyday cognitive function of community-residing elderly. Memory theories pose a central role for attention in guiding the initial encoding and later retrieval of to-be-learned information, and deficits in attention, rather than in retrieval, may undermine the well elderly's everyday memory functioning. Enhancing basic attention components will help mitigate against many everyday cognitive complaints of the elderly when running multiple errands, complying with medication regimens, and keeping physician appointments which place heavy demands on coordinating, allocating, and focusing attention. The proposed intervention holds promise for older adults in bolstering their attentional skills including the encoding of new information into memory and remembering habitual acts. The program, designed to be comfortable, entertaining, and engaging, will equip elderly adults with skills to: maintain and increase attentional skills; improve perceived efficacy for successfully completing everyday tasks with heavy attention demands; and monitor the effects of increased attentional function on everyday cognition, memory, and performance. Phase I field-tested the acceptability and efficacy of the pilot program dealing with two of the core components of attention: coordination and allocation, with samples of community-residing elderly. Phase II will fully develop the ATTENTION WORKS to include the third 'focusing attention' component in CD, WEB, and DVD program versions to meet the everyday cognitive needs of elderly across a spectrum of demographic variables. The Phase II goal is to develop the ATTENTION WORKS to meet a variety of specific attention training needs for community- residing individuals of advancing age, and to encourage individual behavior change with regard to both everyday attention performance, perceived attentional difficulties, and global aspects of day-to-day functioning. Phase III will have primary commercialization support from Practical Memory Institute LTD.