Cognitive performance of seniors and their well-being

Seniors with low cognitive test scores are more likely to experience poor outcomes on several measures of health and well-being.

In 2008–2009, seniors aged 65 and older living in private dwellings who did not have Alzheimer's disease or dementia were asked to do four cognitive tasks. The tasks involved recalling words immediately and again after five minutes, listing as many animals as possible in one minute and alternately reciting numbers and letters of the alphabet.

Living in low income, not living with a spouse or partner, and having diabetes were associated with low scores on each task. Heart disease, impairment in instrumental and daily activities, receiving home care, infrequent social participation and loneliness were also associated with low cognitive performance, although the associations differed by cognitive task.

For each task, seniors with low cognitive test scores were less likely than those with higher scores to rate their health positively.

Chart 28.3 Well-being of seniors by  score on first recall task, 2008–2009
View data source for chart 28.3

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