Older adults often show declines in subjective and objective memory performance relative to younger adults. One potential path for helping older adults with memory may be compensatory memory training programs. Compensatory memory training programs teach strategies to manage memory impairment. Traditional compensatory memory training programs tend to be highly specific to a task and often do not generalize to other memory tasks. Ecologically Oriented Neurorehabilitation of Memory (EON-Mem) is a method for teaching memory strategies that may generalize for efficient use in everyday contexts. We performed a feasibility study to determine the value of pursuing a group-based version of EON-Mem with older adults in a future larger-scale randomized controlled trial. The current feasibility study took place in two phases with two separate samples. The first sample consisted of five separate groups of healthy young adults (n=39). The second sample consisted of three separate groups of older adults (n=26). We collected data on recruitment, treatment adherence, memory improvement, drop-out rate, cost, time spent, and participant-report data on barriers to successful implementation of EON-Mem treatment. We also collected data on memory performance and overall cognitive functioning. In order to assess improvement before and after treatment within our sample, reliable change indices were calculated using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) delayed memory index score. Participants first performed a baseline assessment (traditional and ecological memory tasks, general cognition tasks, emotional functioning, demographics). After the baseline assessment, participants attended one treatment session (90 minutes) per week for a total of seven group-based EON-Mem treatment sessions. Thirty-nine young adults and 26 older adults enrolled in the study; 20 young adults and 10 older adults completed the treatment sessions. We prematurely ended older adult group treatment sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants performed a post-intervention assessment using alternate versions when available. Attendance rates were low for the young adult sample (51% completed the treatment) and as expected for the older adult sample when accounting for COVID-related changes (77% eligible for completer status prior to cancelling sessions). Twenty percent of each sample reliably improved on the RBANS delayed memory index score before and after treatment. Costs were higher than expected ($345 and 18.6 research hours for each young adult participant; $319 and 16.9 research hours for each older adult participant). Subjectively, both samples reported enjoying the interactions with others and the presentation of the treatment, but disliked peg words. Overall, although a randomized controlled trial of group-format EON-Mem in older adults is feasible, such a study may or may not be cost-effective depending on the resources and goals of the researcher.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





feasibility, older adults, memory training, compensatory