Thinking About Cognitive Function: Perceptions of Cognitive Changes in People With Type 2 Diabetes

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PurposeThe purpose of this study is 2-fold: (1) to explore how people with diabetes view diabetes-related cognitive problems and (2) to examine participants’ ideas on a cognitive rehabilitation intervention to adapt it for persons diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).MethodsA qualitative descriptive study based on narrative interviews was conducted with adults (n = 10) with T2DM. The interview data were analyzed using content analysis.ResultsThe interviews reflected 4 major themes: search for advice regarding cognitive complaints, cognitive symptoms, impact of perceived cognitive dysfunction on diabetes self-management, and maintenance of cognitive health. Specific areas of interest for an intervention included the following: understanding how cognitive function relates to diabetes, dealing with cognitive barriers to self-management, and learning how to incorporate a “brain healthy” lifestyle into daily activities.ConclusionsFindings showed that perceived cognitive impairment impacted self-management and suggested that cognitive rehabilitation interventions have potential utility for people with T2DM. Existing successful interventions can be tailored to meet the needs of those whose diabetes self-management is impacted by cognitive problems.

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