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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;31(3):240-6. doi: 10.1002/gps.4316. Epub 2015 May 31.

Older people experiencing homelessness show marked impairment on tests of frontal lobe function.

Author information

1
St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Reported rates of mild and moderate cognitive impairment in older people experiencing homelessness range from 5-80%. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of cognitive impairment in older people experiencing homelessness in the inner city of Sydney, Australia.

METHOD:

Men and women experiencing homelessness aged 45 years and over in the inner city were screened for cognitive impairment. Participants who scored 26 or below on the mini-mental state examination and/or were impaired on any one of the clock-drawing test, the verbal fluency test and the trail-making test, part B were then assessed with a semi-structured interview, including the 21-item Depression Anxiety Stress Scale and the 12-item General Health Questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Screening of 144 men and 27 women aged between 45 years and 93 years identified cognitive impairment in 78%. Subsequently, high rates of mental and physical illness were identified, and 75% of subjects who were cognitively impaired performed poorly on frontal lobe tests. The trail-making test, part B was the most sensitive measure of frontal function.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrated that a large majority of older people experiencing homelessness, in the inner city of a high-income country, showed impairment on tests of frontal lobe function, a finding that could have significant implications for any medical or psychosocial intervention.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive impairment; frontal lobe tests; homeless older persons; inner city population

PMID:
26032583
DOI:
10.1002/gps.4316
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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