Cognitive functions as possible predictors of performance on instrumental activities of daily living and perceived cognitive health in elderly individuals
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As lifespan increases, older individuals are concerned with maintaining or improving their cognitive function/brain health. This study examined the relationship between overall cognitive functioning, perceptual speed, cognitive processing speed, cognitive efficiency, age, gender, education level and executive function (performance of instrumental activities of daily living). Additionally, the relationship between cognitive health quality of life and overall cognitive function was investigated. Forty-five individuals between the ages of 65 and 80 years with no known history of neurological impairment participated in the study. All participants were administered measures of cognitive function, a quality of life questionnaire, and instrumental activities of daily living tasks. Multiple linear regression analysis identified perceptual speed, cognitive processing speed, and education as significant (p < .01) predictors of performance on instrumental activities of daily living. Additionally, higher overall cognitive function was significantly (p < .01) associated with higher scores for solving everyday math problems. Faster cognitive processing speeds were associated with higher scores on solving everyday math problems and writing a check/balancing a checkbook tasks. No significant correlation between perception of cognitive health and overall cognitive function was found. In summary, results suggest that some measures of cognitive function as well as education level may predict performance during instrumental activities of daily living. These findings have the potential to assist health care professionals in identifying early warning signs of cognitive decline in individuals who report to be aging typically.