Innovative Cognitive Aging Research and Solutions

Senior WISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration), founded by esteemed behavioral and educational neuroscientist Dr. Graham J McDougall Jr, Ph.D., RN, pioneers a recognized approach to cognitive aging. This transformative initiative translates scientific insights into practical strategies, enhancing cognitive vitality. Through targeted programs focusing on memory enhancement, stress reduction, health, self-confidence, and essential life skills, we empower individuals for vibrant living.

A wooden head with puzzle pieces in the shape of a human head.
Senior WISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration)

Pioneering Research Insights

Dr. McDougall's groundbreaking research centers on adults at risk of memory loss, shifting the paradigm from decline to untapped potential. By integrating self-efficacy theory, Dr. McDougall explores the intricate connections between physical, emotional, and control beliefs and memory performance. This pioneering work, funded by prestigious institutions such as the National Institutes on Aging, has redefined cognitive aging perceptions, challenging common misconceptions.

Notably, Senior WISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration)'s, effectiveness was validated in a large-scale randomized clinical trial from 2001-2006, sponsored by the NIA. This initiative stands as a beacon of excellence, offering practical, evidence-based solutions to promote cognitive stamina and well-being, transforming the landscape of aging with innovative, empowering approaches.


  • Training manual

  • Individual workbooks

  • Consultations

Direct Assessment of Functional Status (DAFS-Extended)

The Direct Assessment of Functional Status-Extended version (DAFS-E) stands as a meticulous evaluation tool for instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) in community-based older adults, meticulously refined by McDougall et al. The Extended Version, a result of thoughtful revisions, omits simplistic elements like time orientation and incorporates more pertinent components. Divided into four categories:

  • Communication skills (10 points) assessing telephone usage and letter preparation;

  • Financial Skills (13 points) evaluating currency counting, check writing, and budgeting;

  • Shopping Skills (12 points) gauging grocery item recall; and

  • Medication Skills (24 points) testing medication identification and management.

Administered following a protocol formalized by Joan McDowd, PhD, and colleagues at the Landon Center on Aging, University of Kansas Medical Center, in collaboration with Dr. McDougall at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, this revised DAFS-E ensures a robust and comprehensive assessment of functional abilities.

Senior WISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration)
Senior WISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration)

DAFS-E Instrument Revision of Published Evidence

The initial iteration of the DAFS, crafted by Loewenstein et al. (1989), served as a performance-based metric for functional capacity in Alzheimer's patients. In 2002, under Dr. Loewenstein's approval, McDougall, and colleagues meticulously revised and extended the tool, subsequently validating it in the Senior WISE project. The comprehensive assessment's validation findings were published in The Gerontologist, showcasing its credibility and effectiveness.