Supporting a comprehensive and coordinated evaluation of the elderly with diabetes by integrating cognitive and physical assessment in the evaluation process

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2018 Oct;34(7):e3030. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.3030. Epub 2018 Jul 31.


Background: Successful ageing with diabetes is challenged by co-morbidities, which may present barriers to self-care. Currently, measurement of physical and cognitive status is not part of routine care of the older person with diabetes, and these are not taken into account when devising the treatment plan.

Objective: To describe a novel approach that integrates cognitive and physical assessment into the routine evaluation of the older person with diabetes and the tailor-made treatment plan devised accordingly. To provide estimates of the relative contribution of cognitive and physical disabilities in this population.

Methods: Cognitive and physical assessments were added to the standard evaluation. A composite measure of cognitive and of physical status categorizing each individual to intact, mild, or severe impairment was generated. In addition, all recommendations provided were categorized and tabulated.

Results: Of 119 individuals, over the age of 60 with type 2 diabetes who were referred because of difficulties in managing their disease, 16% and 3% of individuals met the criteria for severe cognitive/physical impairment, respectively, and 42% and 21% met the criteria for mild cognitive/physical impairment; 72%, 12.5%, 61% received recommendations related to intensification of physical activity, cognitive treatment, change in pharmacological agents, respectively. 25% were referred for further emotional treatment.

Conclusions: These data suggest that a substantial proportion of individuals with diabetes over the age of 60 may have cognitive/physical impairment. It highlights the importance of measuring these as part of the multidisciplinary evaluation and being able to provide a tailor made treatment plan.

Keywords: cognition; cognitive assessment; dementia; diabetes; disability; elderly; function; healthy ageing; physical assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Physical Examination / methods*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychomotor Disorders / complications
  • Psychomotor Disorders / diagnosis
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Self Care / standards