Assessing the cognitive status of older adults attending primary healthcare centers in Saudi Arabia using the Mini-Mental State Examination

Saudi Med J. 2020 Dec;41(12):1315-1323. doi: 10.15537/smj.2020.12.25576.


Objectives: To assess the cognitive status of older adults in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional, multistage, stratified study of older individuals (≥60 years of age) attending primary healthcare centres in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between January 2015 and April 2017. We collected data using a structured questionnaire, which incorporated questions regarding demographic and anthropometric variables, the Arabic version of Mini-Mental State Examination, the Mini-Nutritional Assessment tool, and the Modified Katz Index of Independence in activities of daily living.

Results: Of the 1299 participants, 914 (70.4%) were male, with a mean age of 66.2 ± 5.9 years. Approximately 79.1% of the participants had intact cognitive function, 17.1 had mild cognitive impairment, and 3.8% had severe cognitive impairment. Impaired cognitive function was associated with increased age, female gender, low education, unmarried status, and unemployed (p less than 0.001). Reduced cognitive impairment was significantly associated with functional impairment and malnutrition (p less than 0.001).

Conclusion: Cognitive impairment affected around 21% of the participants. The reduced cognitive function was associated with increased age, female gender, low education level, unmarried, low income, dependency on others, functional impairment, and malnutrition. Such information could motivate health-policy makers to introduce appropriate measures to improve older adults' existing healthcare services in primary care, including cognitive function assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Risk Factors
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Single Person
  • Unemployment