Evaluation of cognitive performance in the elderly

Abstract Objective this research aims to analyze the process of human ageing, concerning cognitive aspects. Method epidemiologic-descriptive and transversal method was used. A sample of 65 elderly was constituted. Participants of this sample were interviewed about socio-demographic aspects and level of satisfaction with their lives, and were submitted to the Mini-Examination of Mental Condition (MEEM) Test. Results 83.1% of participants reported at least one disease; 59.3% - hypertension, 18.5% - spine problems and arthritis, 14.8% - osteoporosis, 13% - high cholesterol levels, 11.1% - heart diseases, 9.3% - arthritis and 3.7% - diabetes. Among the participants, 16.9% reported interruption of daily activities due to a disease or organic malfunction, and a majority reported a good health condition. Nevertheless, 66.2% reported some degree of memory impairment, this problem being frequent for 58.1% of them. And 73.8% reported participation in some kind of physical activity: walking (44.6%), hydrogymnastics (23.1%) and yoga (13.8%). Analysis of effects of variables showed isolated significant effect of school level over MEEM score (F=8.703, p<0.000, 64g.l.), but no significant effect of age (F=0.442, p=0.724, 64g.l.). Conclusions data collected here show that seniority cannot be necessarily associated to cognitive losses; ageing is not only an organic, biological process, but also a familiar, economic and cultural one.