Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Dementia: Testing How Well a Person Functions - Topic Overview

A health professional may evaluate the day-to-day functioning of a person who has Alzheimer's disease by asking questions and observing the person. This often is done informally during the medical history and physical exam.

Sometimes the health professional may use a more formal functional status exam to evaluate a person's ability to perform daily activities. A functional status exam may also measure current ability to do various activities, such as paying bills, preparing meals, or keeping track of appointments, compared to how well they were performed previously. The test usually is completed by someone in close contact with the person, such as a family member or caregiver.

Recommended Related to Alzheimer's

Hospice Care and Alzheimer's Disease

Health care providers throughout the United States are making a concerted effort to improve hospice care and palliative treatment in terminally ill patients with Alzheimer's disease. Palliative care is treatment designed to relieve or reduce the intensity of uncomfortable symptoms without trying to cure the underlying disease. Palliative treatment may involve the use of medicines or surgery to control symptoms such as pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. The primary care doctor will help guide...

Read the Hospice Care and Alzheimer's Disease article > >

Not being able to do certain everyday tasks on your own is not always a sign of a problem. For example, if you have never been able to balance your checkbook, not being able to balance your checkbook now does not reflect a new problem with your ability to function. But a change or decline in the ability to do daily tasks may signal a problem. Functional status exams are designed to look for evidence of this change or decline.

The results of these tests may suggest that the person has become less able to function independently, but they usually do not point to the cause. Alzheimer's disease is only one of several possible causes of functional impairment.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Dementia: Testing How Well a Person Functions Topics

Today on WebMD

alzheimer's disease warning signs
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Overview
SLIDESHOW
 
Best Memory Boosting Games
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Dementia
ARTICLE
 
daughter and father
ARTICLE
senior man
ARTICLE
 
Making Diagnosis
Article
caregiver
ARTICLE
 
Woman comforting ailing mother
ARTICLE
mri scan of human brain
QUIZ
 
senior woman with lost expression
ARTICLE
Antioxidants Memory
ARTICLE