Preservation of a population’s cognitive functions is a matter of increased concern for all healthcare systems. The detection of factors that are associated with cognitive functions is a matter of increased interest to both the treatment of vulnerable individuals and the implementation of strategies to delay age-related cognitive decline. This study aimed to highlight sociodemographic, physical, and mental health factors associated with the cognitive function in non-demented elderly primary health care attendees. The sample consisted of 362 primary health care attendees aged 60 years or above. A questionnaire regarding sociodemographic and physical health history, along with a battery of psychometric instruments consisting of the Test Your Memory (TYM) test, Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS-15), Short Anxiety Screening Test (SAST), and World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5), were given to all participants.Participants who scored below 39/40 in the TYM, which is the cut-off point for dementia screening in the version of the test we used, were excluded from further assessment.  For the rest of the participants, 267 in total, their TYM scores were significantly and negatively correlated with age and SAST scores. Participants with lung and vascular health history problems scored lower in the TYM, as did those with poor education, who lived alone, and who lived in Alexandroupolis. Finally, healthy participants scored higher than individuals with at least one medical condition. Linear multiple regression analysis revealed a model (adjusted R2 = 25.80, F = 10.11, p < 0.001) with three factors (age (beta = -0.32), lung problems (beta = -0.23), and vascular factors (beta = -0.20) that could significantly predict 25.80% of the variance in TYM scores. Preservation of physical health, especially lung and vascular health, along with anxiety alleviation help to counterbalance the negative effect of aging on cognitive function in non-demented elderly primary care attendees.

KEYWORDS: Primary health care, cognitive decline, elderly, lung problems, vascular factors.

Aglaia Roganaki, Theofanis Vorvolakos, Elpida Sokou, Gregory A. Tripsianis, Theodoros Konstadinidis, Maria Samakouri


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