Dement Neurocogn Disord.  2020 Jun;19(2):65-73. 10.12779/dnd.2020.19.2.65.

Home-Visiting Cognitive Intervention for the Community-Dwelling Elderly Living Alone

  • 1Department of Neurology, Chungnam National University Hospital, Daejeon, Korea
  • 2Daejeon Metropolitan Dementia Center, Daejeon, Korea


Because of repeated failures of clinical trials, the concept of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been changing rapidly in recent years. As suggested by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association Research Framework, the diagnosis and classification of AD is now based on biomarkers rather than on symptoms, allowing more accurate identification of proper candidates for clinical trials by pathogenesis and disease stage. Recent development in neuroimaging has provided a way to reveal the complex dynamics of amyloid and tau in the brain in vivo, and studies of blood biomarkers are taking another leap forward in diagnosis and treatment of AD. In the field of basic and translational research, the development of animal models and a deeper understanding of the role of neuroinflammation are taking a step closer to clarifying the pathogenesis of AD. Development of big data and the Internet of Things is also incorporating dementia care and research into other aspects. Large-Background and Purpose: The elderly living alone feel lonelier and more isolated than do those live with others, and they are at higher risk for cognitive decline and depression. This study aimed to assess whether a home-visiting cognitive intervention (HCI) can have positive effects on cognitive improvement for the elderly who living alone.
HCI was conducted from April 2016 to November 2019. Every elder who lived alone and 2 matched partners met for 8 weeks once a week. The partners visited participants' home and did the HCI which composed of cognitive training and cognitive stimulation activities. The Mini-Mental State Examination-dementia screening (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), the Korean version of instrumental activities of daily living (K-IADL), and the Social Support Scale (SSS) were evaluated before and after HCI to compare the effect of HCI.
A total of 258 participants showed significant improvements in MMSE, GDS, K-IADL, and SSS. The MMSE and GDS scores were significantly improved after HCI in both the normal cognition (NC, n=210) and cognitive impairment (CI, n=48) groups. The cognitive effect of HCI for CI was higher than for NC. Among the NC, the magnitude of cognitive improvement was greater in the higher educated group (above 7 years) than in the other groups.
Active cognitive interventions could provide possible benefits to improve cognition, emotion, and functional abilities. Regular cognitive-care services like HCI are necessary to reduce dementia risk for the elderly who live alone in the community.


Intervention Study; Cognition Therapy; Community Dwelling; Elderly
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