OBJECTIVES: To describe ways of coping in people with mild to moderate AD when faced with situations that are challenging to their memory. METHOD: Twenty-four participants (12 with mild and 12 with moderate AD) were presented with a set of seven tasks that were analogues of everyday situations that tax memory. The participants' responses were videotaped and analysed. RESULTS: Participants' coping responses were grouped into seven categories to best reflect the main strategies. Individuals used a significantly greater frequency of effortful problem solving (self-reliance and reliance on carers) (p <0.01) than other ways of coping. Positive acknowledgement of memory difficulties was used significantly more than negative acknowledgement and defensive coping (concealment and avoidance) (p <0.01). CONCLUSION: This study used novel methodology of observation of behavioural responses in analogues of everyday situations. The predominance of effortful problem-solving emphasizes the role of the person with AD as an active agent in the management of memory loss. An emphasis in previous literature on defensive coping and denial is counter-balanced by the finding that participants commonly coped by acknowledging their memory impairment.
- Alzheimer's disease