Assessing Cognitive Functioning in Older Patients: The Why, Who, What, and How In the coming years, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can expect the numbers of older patients on their caseloads to increase. Epidemiological data indicate that the elderly represent one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population as national life expectancy continues to increase (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Unfortunately, as people ... Article
Article  |   January 2012
Assessing Cognitive Functioning in Older Patients: The Why, Who, What, and How
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura L. Murray
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions
Article   |   January 2012
Assessing Cognitive Functioning in Older Patients: The Why, Who, What, and How
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, January 2012, Vol. 17, 17-26. doi:10.1044/gero17.1.17
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, January 2012, Vol. 17, 17-26. doi:10.1044/gero17.1.17

In the coming years, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can expect the numbers of older patients on their caseloads to increase. Epidemiological data indicate that the elderly represent one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population as national life expectancy continues to increase (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Unfortunately, as people age, they become more vulnerable to medical conditions and diseases (e.g., hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease) that compromise the integrity of their brain structures and functioning (Alzheimer’s Association, 2011; Roger et al., 2010). These conditions and diseases negatively affect our cognitive and communication abilities. In this article, I will focus on cognitive assessment, an important component of service provision to older patients. More specifically, I will review the rationale, issues, and procedures pertaining to evaluating attention, memory, and executive functioning abilities in older patients.

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