Spaced retrieval significantly improves prospective memory performance of cognitively impaired older adults

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Background: Although memory for future intentions (prospective memory, PM) is compromised in older adults with cognitive impairment, the effectiveness of specific training techniques to help these older adults with PM tasks remains unclear. Objective: The present study examined the effectiveness of spaced retrieval (rehearsing at increasingly spaced intervals) as an intervention for improving PM in cognitively impaired older adults. Methods: Healthy older adults (n = 40) and cognitively impaired older adults (n = 30) were randomly assigned to either a spaced retrieval or a standard rehearsal condition. Results: Whilst both groups benefited from the spaced retrieval intervention, enhancement effects were substantial for the cognitively impaired older adults, and no main effect of group was observed in this condition. Conclusion: These data indicate that spaced retrieval may be an effective means of helping cognitively impaired older adults maintain functional independence.

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Journal Article

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