Nursing Care for Older Persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Application of the Self-Determination Theory
Keywords:lifestyle adjustment, Self-Determination Theory, nursing care, older persons with mild cognitive impairment
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a common condition in older persons. MCI is a cognitive disorder between aging-induced cognitive impairment and dementia. Nurses assigned to gerontological care, therefore, play an important part in helping older persons adjust their lifestyles, as a delay mechanism against dementia. Such adjustment can be through physical activities and dietary modifcations, both of which older persons are required to practice on a regular basis over a long period of time for the purpose of delaying dementia onset. However, in most older persons, lifestyles have become habitual and, therefore, diffcult to adjust. Besides, their impaired cognition, memory, and decision-making power may deprive them of a motivation to adopt health-promoting behaviour.
The application of the Self-Determination Theory is expected to generate positive motivations by responding to these three domains: 1) the need for competency, through education on dementia and practice in building lifestyle adjustment skills; 2) the need for social interaction, through peer group activities; and 3) the need for independence, through promotion of decision-making regarding adjustment of their own lifestyles. It is expected that responses to such needs would motivate older persons to determine their own health-benefting behaviour and regularly maintain it, which, in the long run, could help delay the occurrence of dementia.
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