This study examined the profile of cognitive impairment and associated factors among older people in rural central Tanzania.
We conducted a cross-sectional study involving 462 community-dwelling older adults. We performed cognitive, psychosocial, and clinical assessments and face-to-face interviews with all older adults. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to determine the participant’s cognitive performance and the associated factors.
The mean cognitive score on the Identification and Intervention for Dementia in Elderly Africans cognitive test was 11.04 (SD=2.89). Per the proposed cut-off scores to define probable and possible dementia, 13.2% of the population had probable dementia and another 13.9% had possible dementia. Increase in age was associated with poor cognitive performance (β=−0.076, 95% CI=−0.109 to −0.043, P<0.001); whereas male sex (β=0.989, 95% CI=0.333 to 1.645, P=0.003), higher educational attainment (β=2.575, 95% CI=0.557 to 4.594, P=0.013) and performance in instrumental activities of daily living (β=0.552, 95% CI=0.376 to 0.729, P<0.001) were associated with higher cognitive performance.
Older people in rural settings of central Tanzania have poor cognitive functions and are at high risk of further cognitive decline. Preventive and therapeutic programs for the affected older people are warranted to prevent further decline and maintain quality of life.