**What is the cognitive test that is done with individuals that may have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?
**If your loved one has seen (his) primary care physician, or perhaps a gerontologist or neurologist, he has most likely done a mini-mental test. There are various forms of this test, all with the intent of evaluating an individual’s cognitive ability or lack there of. You are probably familiar with some of the questions that are asked: What’s today’s date? What year is it? Can you count backwards from 100 by 7’s?
**The Mini-Mental State Exam, or MMSE, gives a doctor or a clinician a way of measuring someone’s ability to answer specific questions that target certain cognitive abilities. It is one of the tests that is used in helping physicians determine if someone has Alzheimer’s disease or one of the other dementias.
“The mini–mental state examination (MMSE) or Folstein test is a sensitive, valid and reliable 30-point questionnaire that is used extensively in clinical and research settings to measure cognitive impairment. It is commonly used in medicine and allied health to screen for dementia. It is also used to estimate the severity and progression of cognitive impairment and to follow the course of cognitive changes in an individual over time; thus making it an effective way to document an individual’s response to treatment…Administration of the test takes between 5–10 minutes and examines functions including registration, attention and calculation, recall, language, ability to follow simple commands and orientation.” Wikipedia
**It is helpful for families to know what their loved one’s score is on a MMSE, for a variety of reasons. It helps families see the mental decline their loved one is experiencing as he moves through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Having a number to look at seems to help family members put the disease into perspective. Whether your loved one lives at home or is in a memory care community, knowing this score will help you understand why behaviors, skills and communication levels are changing.
**This is also a test that you can do with your loved one to see where specific decline is happening. We know that as caregivers, we need to change how we approach our loved one and how we communicate with them as cognitive abilities decline. The MMSE is an easy way to track what is happening and be able to share that with the doctor.
**Again, the MMSE is only one of the evaluation tools that is used to determine an individual’s cognitive ability. It has proven itself to be effective and reliable.
Below are a few sample questions: The Folstein Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE)
1. What is the Year_______ Season _______ Date _______ Day _______
2. Where are we: State _____ Country _______ Town _______ Place _______
3. Repeat CUP ~ HOUSE ~ BALL. Ask the person to repeat the 3 objects.
4. Begin at 100 and count backwards by 7’s. Stop after 5 subtractions.
5. Repeat previous 3 bolded words.
6. Show person a watch and ask what it is:
7. Show person a pen/pencil and ask what it is:
8. Repeat the following sentence: “No ifs ands or buts.”
9. Take paper in your left hand, fold it in half, and put it on the floor.
10. Write a complete sentence. It must contain a subject & a verb.