Reasoning Exercises in Assisted Living: a Cluster Randomized Trial to Improve Reasoning and Everyday Problem Solving.

Kristine N. Williams, University of Iowa
Ruth Herman
Daniel Bontempo


PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: Assisted living (AL) residents are at risk for cognitive and functional declines that eventually reduce their ability to care for themselves, thereby triggering nursing home placement. In developing a method to slow this decline, the efficacy of Reasoning Exercises in Assisted Living (REAL), a cognitive training intervention that teaches everyday reasoning and problem-solving skills to AL residents, was tested.

DESIGN AND METHODS: At thirteen randomized Midwestern facilities, AL residents whose Mini Mental State Examination scores ranged from 19-29 either were trained in REAL or a vitamin education attention control program or received no treatment at all. For 3 weeks, treated groups received personal training in their respective programs.

RESULTS: Scores on the Every Day Problems Test for Cognitively Challenged Elders (EPCCE) and on the Direct Assessment of Functional Status (DAFS) showed significant increases only for the REAL group. For EPCCE, change from baseline immediately postintervention was +3.10 (P

IMPLICATIONS: REAL improves skills in everyday problem solving, which may allow AL residents to maintain self-care and extend AL residency. This benefit is particularly important given the growing population of AL residents at risk for cognitive and self-care decline.