A comparison of training strategies to enhance use of external aids by persons with dementia

J Commun Disord. Sep-Oct 2003;36(5):361-78. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9924(03)00051-0.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two training approaches, Spaced Retrieval (SR) and a modified Cueing Hierarchy (CH), for teaching persons with dementia a strategy goal involving an external memory aid. Twenty-five persons with dementia living in either community or nursing home settings received training on two individual-specific strategy goals, one with each training approach. Results revealed that significantly more goals were attained using SR procedures than CH, but that a majority of participants learned to use external aids using both strategies. There were no significant differences in the number of sessions required to master goals in either condition; however, significantly more SR goals were maintained at both 1-week and 4-months post-training compared to CH goals. Mental status was not significantly correlated with goal mastery, suggesting the potential benefits of strategy training beyond the early stages of dementia.

Learning outcomes: As a result of this activity, the reader will be able to (1) identify ways to enable persons with dementia to make effective use of external memory aids; (2) describe a method, Spaced Retrieval, by which persons with dementia can learn and retain information; and (3) describe two approaches to working with persons with dementia to train a strategy learning goal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cues*
  • Day Care, Medical
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nursing Homes
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care