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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2012 Jan-Feb;54(1):197-201. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2011.02.010. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Cognitive impairment as predictor of functional dependence in an elderly sample.

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Gerontology Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of A Coruña, Campus de Oza, E-15006, A Coruña, Spain.


This retrospective study determines the role of cognitive decline as a predictor of functional dependence. In a representative 600 community-dwellers aged 65 or older, we examined using a logistic regression model, the association between cognitive status (taking into account age and educational level) and dependence on basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADL and IADL, resp.), controlling for socio-demographic variables and health conditions. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were compared in participants with functional disability to perform basic and instrumental activities. Cognitive status influenced functional dependence on activities of daily living, basic (OR=4.1, 95%CI=2.7-6.1) and instrumental (OR=5.7, 95%CI=3.5-9.3), independently of gender, age, educational level and health conditions. Besides, cognitive impairment was associated with the dependence on certain basic (e.g., bathing, toileting) and instrumental (e.g., using the telephone, taking medications, and handling finances) activities. This was a gradual relationship, the highest cognitive decline implied the highest loss of ability at carrying out activities, with a larger impact on basic activities. These findings suggest that cognitive decline can be a predictor for functional dependence, independently of other variables, and turn into a very useful tool indicating the need for support.

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