Discerning rural Appalachian stakeholder attitudes toward memory screening

Lisa Kirk Wiese, Ishan Williams, Christine L. Williams, James E. Galvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this descriptive study was to examine Appalachian stakeholder attitudes toward routine memory screening, and to compare and contrast results from a similar study conducted in an ethnically diverse rural Florida cohort. Determining perceptions about memory screening is essential prior to developing culturally relevant programs for increasing early dementia detection and management among rural underserved older adults at risk of cognitive impairment. Benefits of early detection include ruling out other causes of illness and treating accordingly, delaying onset of dementia symptoms through behavior management and medications, and improving long-term care planning (Dubois, Padovani, Scheltens, Rossi, & Dell'Agnello, 2016). These interventions can potentially help to maintain independence, decrease dementia care costs, and reduce family burdens (Frisoni, et al., 2017). Method: Researchers applied a parallel mixed method design (Tashakkori & Newman, 2010) of semi-structured interviews, measurements of health literacy (REALM-SF) (Arozullah, et al., 2007), sociodemographics, and cognitive screening perceptions (PRISM-PC) (Boustani, et al., 2008), to examine beliefs and attitudes about memory screening among 22 FL and 21 WV rural stakeholders (residents, health providers, and administrators). Results: Findings included that > 90% participants across both cohorts were highly supportive of earlier dementia detection through routine screening regardless of sample characteristics. However, half of those interviewed were doubtful that provider care or assistance would be adequate for this terminal illness. Despite previous concerns of stigma associated with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, rural providers are encouraged to educate patients and community members regarding Alzheimer’s disease and offer routine cognitive screening and follow-through.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-806
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Appalachian
  • Rural
  • screening and diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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