Profiles of Cognitive Impairments in an Older Age Community Sample: A Latent Class Analysis

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Objective: Person-centered studies that could describe the different patterns of cognitive impairments among older people are lacking. To this end, the current study utilized a person-centered approach to examine the different profiles of cognitive impairment in an older age Chinese community sample. Additionally, the current study also examined whether functional impairments differ across the different profiles. Method: A total of 220 older people (Mage = 70.9 years) who were assessed to have an objective impairment in any of 7 domains (immediate memory, delayed memory, attention, inhibition, verbal fluency, working memory, and processing speed) were entered in a latent class analysis. Subsequently, functional impairment (both self-reported and clinician-rated) between the different profiles of cognitive impairments that emerged from the analyses were compared. Results: A 4-class solution was chosen based on fit statistics and interpretability. Three profiles were characterized by impairments in cognitive rigidity, memory, and other executive functions, and the 4th with impairments in both executive functions and memory. Furthermore, relative to the non-memory-impaired groups, the memory-impaired groups were significantly more likely to report a higher level of clinician-rated functional impairments even though these groups did not differ significantly in self-reported functional impairments. Conclusions: The observed cognitive impairments in the current sample can be classified into 4 distinct profiles along the lines of memory and/or executive functions impairment. The memory-impaired groups were significantly impaired relative to the non-memory-impaired groups, at least in terms of clinician-rated functional outcomes. These findings present some important implications.

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