SAIDO Learning as a Cognitive Intervention for Dementia Care: A Preliminary Study



      The purpose of this study was to examine the beneficial effects on cognitive function by a cognitive intervention program designed for dementia care called Learning Therapy in Japan and SAIDO Learning in the United States (hereinafter “SAIDO Learning,” as appropriate). SAIDO Learning is a working memory training program that uses systematized basic problems in arithmetic and language, including reading aloud, as well as writing.

      Design, Setting, Participants, and Intervention

      Twenty-three nursing home residents with dementia were assigned as an intervention group, and another 24 people with dementia at another nursing home were assigned as a control group. Both nursing homes were operated by the same organization, and residents of both nursing homes received essentially the same nursing care. Thirteen and 6 subjects of the intervention and control groups, respectively, were clinically diagnosed as Alzheimer disease (AD).


      After the 6-month intervention, the participants with AD of the intervention group showed statistically significant improvement in cognitive function, as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) compared with the control participants. In addition, post hoc analysis revealed that the Frontal Assessment Battery at Bedside (FAB) scores of the intervention group tended to improve after 6-month intervention. Based on MDS scores, improvements in total mood severity scores also were observed, but only in the intervention group of the participants with AD.


      These results suggest that SAIDO Learning is an effective cognitive intervention and is useful for dementia care. An additional outcome of this intervention, which has not yet been evaluated in detail, appears to be that it promotes greater positive engagement of a diversity of nursing home staff in the residents’ individual progress and care needs.


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