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Journal Article

Perceived Cognitive Impairment among African American elders: health and functional impairments in daily life

Objectives: The Center for Disease Control began to assess Perceived Cognitive Impairment in 2009, yet there has been no in-depth study of how perceived decline in thinking or memory skills may be associated to the health and lifestyle of an independent community-dwelling older person. Among urban-dwelling older African Americans who are at elevated risk for cognitive impairment and dementia, we know even less regarding the interaction of these risk factors.Method: Five hundred and one African American elders (n = 501) between the ages of 55 and 95 with an average age of 70.73 years (SD = 8.6 years) participated in telephone interviews.Results: Approximately one-third of the elders reported that their memory, thinking skills, or ability to reason was worse than a year ago (n = 150; 29.9%) and 25% of this group (n = 38) reported that this Perceived Cognitive Impairment impacted their daily activities and/or warranted a consultation with their doctor. Bivariate analyses indicated that Perceived Cognitive Impairment was associated with increased health problems, mobility limitations, depressed mood, and lower social functioning.Conclusion: Elders who reported that cognitive problems impacted their daily functioning reported the greatest health and mental health problems. Perceived Cognitive Impairment is an important health variable with implications for an older adult's overall health, mobility, and mental health.

L.J. Ficker
C.L. Lysack
M. Hanna
P.A. Lichtenberg
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