Managing Daily Life With Age-Related Sensory Loss: Cognitive Resources Gain in Importance

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This paper investigates the role of cognitive resources in everyday functioning, comparing visually Unpaired, hearing impaired, and sensory unimpaired older adults. According to arguments that cognitive resources are of increased importance and a greater awareness of cognitive restrictions exists among sensory impaired individuals, in particular among visually impaired individuals, we hypothesized differential relationships between resources and outcomes when comparing sensory impaired and sensory unimpaired older adults. Findings are based on samples of 121 visually impaired, 116 hearing impaired, and 150 sensory unimpaired older adults (M = 82 years). Results from a sample of 43 dual sensory impaired older adults are reported for comparison. Assessment relied on established instruments (e.g., WAIS-R, ADL/IADL). Structural equation modeling showed that cognitive resources and behaviorrelated everyday functioning were more strongly related in the sensory impaired groups as compared to the sensory unimpaired group. Cognitive resources and evaluation of everyday functioning were significantly linked only among the sensory impaired groups. When medical condition was controlled for, these effects persisted. It is concluded that both cognitive training as well as psychosocial support may serve as important additions to classic vision and hearing loss rehabilitation.
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Psychology and Aging,



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