Center for Aging and Policy StudiesMaria Teresa Brown, Sharon A. Brangman, & Nancy H. Smith. “Early Identification of Cognitive Impairment: Utility of the Mini-Cog in Non-Clinical Settings.” Journal of Applied Gerontology (online ahead of print)

While we currently cannot cure Alzheimer’s disease or change the course of the disease, there are advantages to early detection. Routine, evidence based, brief cognitive screens offer destigmatized opportunities for diagnosis and improve the possibility of early identification of cognitive impairment. This community-based participatory research project evaluated the use of the Mini-Cog™ instrument to detect cognitive impairment in vulnerable community-dwelling older adults when administered by trained social services providers. Over 9 months, a case manager screened 69 clients ages 65 to 94 (mean 74.67) who met inclusion criteria for the pilot; 84.1% were female, 53.6% were Black, 26% were living with undetected cognitive impairment. Although participants agreed to Mini-Cog™ screening, two-thirds with Mini-Cog™ scores indicating cognitive impairment refused referrals for further evaluation. Future interventions should reduce stigma by educating the public about dementia and engaging members of racial and cultural communities in outreach.