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Cognitive Training for Older Caregivers


This study will test whether certain computer-based training activities can promote cognitive, emotional, and physical health in older adult caregivers of a spouse or significant other with dementia.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 80 Years All Yes
September 2016
September 2020

  • English-speaking
  • Living with, and the primary caregiver for, a spouse or significant other with dementia
  • Experiencing moderate to high levels of perceived stress and caregiver burden, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale (greater than 11) and Modified Caregiver Strain Index (score greater than 5)

  • Cognitive impairment or dementia (Montreal Cognitive Assessment score of less than 24)
  • Current major depression (diagnosis of major depression and/or Geriatric Depression Scale score greater than 10)
  • Major surgery within past 2 months
  • History of events that cause neurological injury (e.g., stroke, mini-stroke, traumatic brain injury, or head injury with loss of consciousness)
  • Serious psychiatric or alcohol/substance use disorders, including current alcohol dependence, psychoactive substance use dependence, psychotic disorders or features, and bipolar disorder
  • Autoimmune disorder (e.g., Crohn's disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Active neoplastic disease or receiving immunosuppressive therapy for cancer (or chemotherapy or radiation in past 6 months) or other diseases (in past 3 months)
  • Significant immunodeficiency disorder (e.g., alymphocytosis, hepatitis B or C, HIV)
  • Serious heart disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, pacemaker) or heart attack in past 6 months
  • Physical condition that would interfere with cognitive training (e.g., inability to use a computer mouse, inadequate visual acuity)

Participants will take part in either computer-based cognitive training or online video education for 1 year. Researchers will measure changes in attention and speed of processing, heart rate, emotional regulation and well-being, and immune system aging.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Rochester Medical Center
Rochester New York 14642 Recruiting

University of Rochester

  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
Kathi L. Heffner, PhD Principal Investigator University of Rochester

Name Phone Email
Jeff Swan, MS 585-275-6835


Cognitive Training to Protect Immune Systems of Older Caregivers