Profiles of decline in activities of daily living in non-Alzheimer dementia

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2007 Jan-Mar;21(1):8-13. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e3180324549.


Assessment of functional ability is an essential component in the clinical diagnosis of dementia. Most studies have primarily focused on disability due to Alzheimer disease (AD), and less is known about profiles of functional impairment in other dementia syndromes. Functional ability was assessed in individuals in the early stages of AD (N=100), the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) (N=57), and primary progressive aphasia (PPA) (N=61), using the activities of daily living questionnaire (Johnson et al, 2004). The average duration of illness for the 3 groups ranged from 3.4 to 3.9 years. Overall level of functional impairment and the profile of abilities across subscales of Self-Care, Household Care, Employment and Recreation, Shopping and Money, Travel, and Communication were examined. Results showed that overall functional ability was moderately impaired in AD and FTD, and mildly impaired in PPA. For all groups, more complex ADLs were impaired early on, with relative preservation of self-care activities. The Communication score was the least impaired next to Self-Care for FTD and AD, and the most impaired for PPA patients. The activities of daily living questionnaire may capture aspects of preserved functioning that are not apparent from patients' scores on cognitive tests, especially for those with aphasia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recreation
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires