Attainment speed in attention and memory tasks: test validation as a functional indicator in the geriatric population

Marlene Cristina Neves Rosa, Miguel Pires, Daniana Michelle


AIM: To validate the reaching speed during attention and memory tasks as a functional indicator in the geriatric population.
METHODS: Institutionalized elderly living in 4 Portuguese institutions were characterized by their functional profile, with the following variables: (i) cognition; (ii) independence in basic daily living activities; (iii) independence in instrumental activities of daily living; (iii) grip strength, (iv) diagnosis of depression; (v) upper limb sensorimotor function; (vi) executive functions. All these instruments underwent a linking process with the International Classification of Functioning and Health. The sample was divided into four functional groups considering the values below and above the mean range of reaching speed in attention tasks (Group 1 - G1, Group 2 - G2) and the range of RS in memory tasks (Group 3 - G3, Group 4 - G4). Characterization of the sample groups was performed using descriptive statistical measures of the ICF
qualifiers and the difference between groups (G1 / G2 and G3 / G4) was tested using t-tests for independent samples.
RESULTS: The results showed significant differences between low- and high profile groups in RS tasks (p <0.05), identifying the following priority intervention areas in institutionalized elderly: d6. Domestic life, d1. Learning and knowledge application, d4. Mobility, d5. Self-care and d8. Significant areas of life. Older adults with reaching speed in attention tasks <0.06m/s or <0.07m/s in memory tasks tend to have moderate to severe disability in Mobility and Self Care and severe/complete inability to participate in Household tasks.
CONCLUSION: This study was an important contribution to the validation of reaching speed (a test for upper limb function) during attention and memory tasks as a functional indicator, enabling elderly functional evaluation in a large spectrum, including non-ambulate elderly people.


International Classification of Functioning; Disability and Health; elderly; attention; memory.


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