Comparing the Experiences of Participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Dementia during an Oral Health Intervention

Bianca Shieu, Chiao Hsin Teng, Ya Ning Chan, Youngmin Cho, Cassandra Dictus, Jing Wang, Anna S. Beeber, Ashley Bryant, Bei Wu, Brenda L. Plassman, Ruth A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Cognitive impairment is associated with poor oral health outcomes. Oral hygiene tasks are an essential target of interventions aiming to improve oral health for older adults with cognitive impairment. We aimed to examine whether experiences in an oral health intervention based on the Adaptive Leadership Framework for Chronic Illness differed between individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild dementia (MD) and their respective care partners. Research Design and Methods: This was a secondary analysis using directed content analysis and then an interpretive-description approach to analyze the data from a theory-driven intervention study. We included 10 people with MCI and their care partners (n = 20) and 8 people with MD and their care partners (n = 16) in the treatment arm of the intervention. For each participant, we analyzed audio recordings of 4 intervention coaching sessions, each ranging between 30 and 45 min. We managed the data and coding using ATLAS.TI software. Results: Participants in both the MCI and MD groups experienced similar challenges in adapting to changes in oral hygiene techniques, and both groups worked on learning new oral hygiene techniques taught by the dental hygienist and meeting individualized goals developed with their care partner, interventionist, and hygienist. On the other hand, there were subtle differences in technical challenges between participants in MCI and MD groups; participants in the MCI group reacted more actively to dental hygienist suggestions than the MD group. Discussion and Implications: Study findings provide information about how researchers and clinicians might tailor interventions to meet the learning needs of individuals and care partners in each group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberigad123
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023


  • Adaptive leadership framework for chronic illness
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Community settings
  • Oral care intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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