Subjective forgetfulness is associated with lower quality of life in middle-aged and young-old individuals: a 9-year follow-up in older participants from the Maastricht Aging Study

M.E.M. Mol, M.P.J. van Boxtel*, D.C.M. Willems, F.R.J. Verhey, J. Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVES: Many people regard themselves as being forgetful. They may be hindered by or worried about this subjective forgetfulness in daily life. The first aim of the present study was to determine whether perceived forgetfulness in healthy older adults is related to a lower quality of life. The second objective was to assess whether the association between perceived forgetfulness and quality of life changes over a 9-year follow-up period. METHOD: A group of 412 participants in the longitudinal Maastricht Aging Study, aged 54 years or older, were interviewed and tested at baseline, 3, 6, and 9 years. Four proxy measures of quality of life were studied; satisfaction with life, mental well-being, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. RESULTS: Results showed that subjective forgetfulness was associated with a lower quality of life. In addition, in individuals considering themselves forgetful, a significant increase was found in symptoms of anxiety, compared to those who had no perceived forgetfulness. The relation between perceived forgetfulness and decreased satisfaction with life was stronger in younger (54-69 years) than in older participants (70-91 years). CONCLUSION: The observation that perceived forgetfulness and reduced quality of life are related and that this relation persists over time demonstrates the relevance of subjective forgetfulness for daily life functioning, particularly in relatively young subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
JournalAging & Mental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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