Rates of Cognitive and Functional Impairments in Older Adults Residing in a Continuing Care Senior Housing Community
Abstract Objective: The current cross-sectional study examined cognition and performance-based functional abilities in a continuing care senior housing community (CCSHC) that is comparable to other CCSHCs in the US with respect to residents' demographic characteristics. Method: Participants were 110 older adult residents of the independent living unit. We assessed sociodemographics, mental health, neurocognitive functioning, and functional capacity. Results: Compared to normative samples, participants performed at or above expectations in terms of premorbid functioning, attention span and working memory, processing speed, timed set-shifting, inhibitory control, and confrontation naming. They performed below expectation in verbal fluency and verbal and visual learning and memory, with impairment rates [31.4% (>1 SD below the mean) and 18.49% (>1.5 SD below the mean)] well above the general population (16% and 7%, respectively). Within the cognitive test battery, two tests of delayed memory were most predictive of a global deficit score. Most cognitive test scores correlated with performance-based functional capacity. Conclusions: Overall, results suggest that a subset of older adults in the independent living sector of CCSHCs are cognitively and functionally impaired and are at risk for future dementia. Results also argue for the inclusion of memory tests in abbreviated screening batteries in this population. We suggest that CCSHCs implement regular cognitive screening procedures to identify and triage those older adults who could benefit from interventions and, potentially, a transition to a higher level of care.