After Screening Positive for Dementia, Many Seniors Refuse Evaluation

Older adults who screen positive for dementia often refuse diagnostic evaluation, partly because of stigma surrounding the condition.

Two thirds of individuals 65 and older who screened positive for cognitive impairment refused subsequent evaluation according to the first study of its kind to examine older adults’ willingness to undergo diagnostic assessment. The Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Regenstrief Institute and Eskenazi Health study of approximately 500 older adults found that individuals living alone were the least likely to agree to diagnostic assessment following a positive screening test for dementia.

Screening is designed to detect if a problem exists. Diagnostic assessment provides a diagnosis based on the best available tests.

“Traits of Patients Who Screen Positive for Dementia and Refuse Diagnostic Assessment” is published in the June issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, an open access, peer-reviewed journal from the Alzheimer’s Association.

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