Objectives The purpose of this research study was to examine the
relationship between education and leisure, as markers of cognitive
reserve, depressive symptoms and memory performance in a sample of
cognitively normal Irish older adults.
Methods A cross-sectional survey
style design was employed to gather data. A sample of 121 older adults
in the Cork area was recruited through publicly advertising for
volunteers. Only those volunteers who obtained a score of greater than
23 on the MMSE, and were not taking antidepressant or anxiolytic
medications, were included. Data from 99 participants were included in
Results Controlling for age and gender, depressive
symptoms were found to be associated with poorer immediate recall
performance, while greater than 12 years of education was positively
associated with delayed recall and savings. Leisure did not emerge as
being associated with any of the dimensions of memory assessed.
Conclusions Depressive symptoms emerged as associated with immediate
recall, even though few of the participants met the cut-off for
caseness. This may indicate a need for intervention in cases of
subclinical depression with associated memory complaints. The
association between education level and both delayed recall and savings
provides support for the cognitive reserve hypothesis, and may suggest
useful non-pharmacological approaches to memory deficits in later life.