Living Reference Work Entry

Mental Health and Illness of the Elderly

Part of the series Mental Health and Illness Worldwide pp 1-13

Date: Latest Version

Schizophrenia and Cognition in Late Life

  • Tarek K. RajjiAffiliated withGeriatric Psychiatry Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Email author 


The number of older patients with schizophrenia is increasing as the general population continues to grow old. Patients with schizophrenia arrive to old age with well-characterized cognitive and functional deficits. These deficits are likely to interact with aging-related factors that affect cognition and function, potentially increasing the risk of developing dementias as it has been demonstrated in epidemiological studies. In this chapter, we review the nature of cognitive impairments in older patients with schizophrenia, their trajectories based on longitudinal studies, and their relationship to changes in functional abilities. Finally, we review the evidence to date behind interventions that aims at enhancing cognition and function in this population. Notwithstanding the limited literature on older patients with schizophrenia, current knowledge suggests that most patients are relatively stable with respect to cognition and that they are likely to benefit from cognitive and functional enhancing interventions.


Cognition Function Late life Schizophrenia