Cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly: effects on strategic behavior in relation to goal management

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2007 Jan;13(1):143-52. doi: 10.1017/S1355617707070178.


Executive functions are highly sensitive to the effects of aging and other conditions affecting frontal lobe function. Yet there are few validated interventions specifically designed to address executive functions, and, to our knowledge, none validated in a healthy aging sample. As part of a large-scale cognitive rehabilitation randomized trial in 49 healthy older adults, a modified Goal Management Training program was included to address the real-life deficits caused by executive dysfunction. This program emphasized periodic suspension of ongoing activity to establish goal hierarchies and monitor behavioral output. Tabletop simulated real-life tasks (SRLTs) were developed to measure the processes targeted by this intervention. Participants were randomized to two groups, one of which received the intervention immediately and the other of which was wait-listed prior to rehabilitation. Results indicated improvements in SRLT performance and self-rated executive deficits coinciding with the training in both groups. These gains were maintained at long-term follow-up. Future research will assess the specificity of these effects in patient groups.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Neuropsychology / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods*