Objective functional performance in African American, Cuban American and English-speaking non-Hispanic elderly residing in the community: The South Florida Program on Aging and Health (SFPAH)

D. A. Loewenstein, R. Prineas, J. Demirovic, T. Arguelles, F. Stitt, J. A. Bean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Although the importance of functional assessment has been increasingly recognized in the cognitive evaluation of the older adult, there is a paucity of data regarding the direct, objective functional performance of diverse cognitively intact ethnic/cultural groups from community-based samples. In this population-based study, we used the Folstein Mini-Mental State Evaluation (MMSE) to identify which of 1,577 persons sampled were cognitively intact by well-established criteria. Study participants were then administered several tasks from the Direct Assessment of Functional Status (DAFS) scale in their homes. Results indicate that cognitively intact elderly African Americans, Cuban Americans and White non-Hispanic Americans did not differ with regards to telling time or identifying currency. When subjects' performance was compared to previously established cutoff scores for impairment on the DAFS in the subcategories of telling time, identifying currency, time orientation, and counting currency, these cutoffs were appropriate for all cultural/language groups. However, African American and Cuban American groups performed so poorly in preparing a letter for mailing that no meaningful cutoff points for classification purposes could be established, suggesting that this test of ideational praxis may not be the most appropriate measure for use among diverse ethnic/cultural groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mental Health and Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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