Measurement of functional activities in older adults in the community

J Gerontol. 1982 May;37(3):323-9. doi: 10.1093/geronj/37.3.323.


Two measures of social function designed for community studies of normal aging and mild senile dementia were evaluated in 195 older adults who underwent neurological, cognitive, and affective assessment. An examining and a reviewing neurologist and a neurologically trained nurse independently rated each on a Scale of Functional Capacity. Interrater reliability was high (examining vs. reviewing neurologist, r = .97; examining neurologist vs. nurse, tau b = .802; p less than .001 for both comparisons). Estimates correlated well with an established measure of social function and with results of cognitive tests. Alternate informants evaluated participants on the Functional Activities Questionnaire and the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale. The Functional Activities Questionnaire was superior to the Instrumental Activities of Daily scores. Used alone as a diagnostic tool, the Functional Activities Questionnaire was more sensitive than distinguishing between normal and demented individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged*
  • Cognition
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Mental Status Schedule*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires