Potential Influential Factors of Cognitive Decline and Engagement in Participants of Adult Day Services


As the global population of older adults increases, so does the need for more affordable care taking services such as Adult Day Services (ADS) at Virginia Tech. Data collected over a 10-year period was assessed to understand factors affecting the quality of life for ADS participants. Two questions were posed: is there a relationship between blood pressure and cognitive decline over time, and is there a relationship between engagement levels and depressive symptoms? We hypothesized that increased blood pressure would correlate with increased mental decline, and that higher engagement levels would correlate with less depressive symptomology. To measure this, the dataset, which contains daily measurements and quarterly assessments, was cleaned and visualized using Tableau software. Due to software limitations and time restraints, it was not feasible to answer the blood pressure question in the time allotted. Instead, we researched the baseline relationship between blood pressure and indicators of cognitive decline and found no significant correlation between these factors. However, the results illustrated interesting variation in cognition scores over time. ADS participants’ first individual MMSE scores are unusually high compared to their average score, and the facility-wide average MMSE score has steadily declined over time. In answering the engagement question, we found a weak correlation between active participation and lower depressive symptomology (R 2 =0.0667), and between passive and non-participation and higher depressive symptomology (R 2 =0.0140 and R 2 =0.1742, respectively). This research does not provide implications considering blood pressure but does show that MMSE administration may need evaluation. Additionally, adult care taking services may combat depression by encouraging active participation among its participants.