Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 360–367 | Cite as

Assessment of cognitive status in the elderly using telephone interviews

  • D. Debling
  • M. Amelang
  • P. Hasselbach
  • T. Stürmer
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION

Summary

Objective

To examine the feasibility to assess cognitive status in the elderly using telephone interviews.

Research design and methods

From January to December 2003, 740 participants of the ongoing Heidelberg longitudinal study (HeiDE) aged 70 years or more were eligible for a telephone interview on cognitive status. Validated instruments to assess cognitive status, including the Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status (TICS) and the East Boston Memory Test (EBMT, immediate and delayed recall), the Verbal Fluency Test, the HAWIE-“Vocabulary Test” and the HAWIE-“General Knowledge”, a prospective memory test, and a digit span backwards-test were translated into German, if applicable.

Results

Out of 740 participants at the age of 70 or older, 473 participants were interviewed (64.9%). The total score of the TICS (maximum=best: 41) ranged from 21 to 40 (mean 33.5, SD 3.1; median 34.0). The EBMT scores (immediate recall; maximum=best: 12) ranged from 4 to 12 (mean 9.2, SD 1.7; median 9.0).

Conclusions

Cognitive status could be successfully assessed by telephone interview in elderly participants of an ongoing population-based cohort study. Specifically, some of the tests showed pronounced variability allowing cross-sectional analyses whereas others seem more valuable for longitudinal assessment.

Key words

Cognitive status telephone interview elderly epidemiology 

Das Telefoninterview zur Erfassung der Kognition im Alter

Zusammenfassung

Zielsetzung

Die Durchführbarkeit von telefonischen Interviews zur Ermittlung der kognitiven Funktion im Alter soll geprüft werden.

Forschungsdesign und Methoden

Von Januar bis Dezember 2003 standen 740 Teilnehmer der fortlaufenden Heidelberger Langzeitstudie (Hei-DE) im Alter von 70 und älter für ein kognitives Telefoninterview zur Verfügung. Validierte Instrumente zur Erhebung der kognitiven Funktion beinhalten das Telefoninterview zum kognitiven Status (TICS), den East Boston Memory Test (EBMT; sofortige und verzögerte Wiedergabe), den verbalen Flüssigkeitstest, den HAWIE-„Wortschatztest“ und—„Allgemeines Wissen“, ein Test zum prospektiven Gedächtnis und einen Zahlenreihentest (rückwärts), und wurden, sofern notwendig, in das Deutsche übersetzt.

Ergebnisse

Von 740 Teilnehmern im Alter von 70 Jahren oder älter konnten 473 Teilnehmer erfolgreich interviewt werden (64,9%). Die Gesamtpunktzahl des TICS (maximum=bester Wert: 41) reichte von 21 bis 40 (arithmetisches Mittel 33,5, Standardabweichung 3,1; Median 34,0). Im EBMT (sofortige Wiedergabe; maximum=bester Wert: 12) reichte die Gesamtpunktzahl von 4–12 (arithmetisches Mittel 9,2, Standardabweichung 1,7; Median 9,0).

Schlussfolgerung

Die kognitive Funktion konnte erfolgreich bei älteren Teilnehmern einer fortlaufenden populationsbasierten Kohortenstudie mit Hilfe des telefonischen Interviews erhoben werden. Insbesondere zeigten einige Tests eine Variabilität welche Querschnittsanalysen erlaubt, während andere für eine Langzeiterhebung wertvoll erscheinen.

Schlüsselwörter

Kognition Telefoninterview Alter Epidemiologie 

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Debling
    • 1
  • M. Amelang
    • 1
  • P. Hasselbach
    • 1
  • T. Stürmer
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and PharmacoeconomicsBrigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Preventive MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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