Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The AD8: A New Way to Think About Dementia Screening

by Kristen West

If you took your loved one in to the doctor for a dementia test, you might have listened as the doctors asked them to recall information, report recent events, and complete a series of seemingly unrelated tasks. However, a new interview tool could be changing the dementia screening process by more actively involving caregivers.

The AD8 is an 8-question interview tool that can help to identify some of the early signs of dementia more reliably than previous tests. The interview is an information-based assessment, rather than quiz-based. Instead of questioning the patient, the administrator interviews the patient's caregiver to assess areas of cognition and functioning that may have changed. These questions look for a change in memory, understanding, decision making, and interest in activities. The questionnaire focuses on whether or not your loved one has experienced a change in these areas, rather than focusing on examining current levels of functioning.

The AD8

As with any Alzheimer's or dementia test, the AD8 is a screening test and does not take the place of a diagnostic workup of dementia. If you would like to administer the AD8 to yourself or someone you know, look over the questions below. Answering "Yes, there has been a change" for two or more questions indicates there may be reason for concern.

  1. Has your loved one had problems with judgment (e.g., problems making decisions, bad financial decisions, problems with thinking)?
  2. Has your loved one had less interest in hobbies and activities?
  3. Does your loved one repeat the same questions, stories, and statements over and over?
  4. Does your loved one have trouble learning how to use a tool, appliance, or gadget (e.g., VCR, computer, microwave, remote control)?
  5. Does your loved one forget the correct month or year?
  6. Does your loved one have trouble handling complicated financial affairs (e.g., balancing checkbook, income taxes, paying bills)?
  7. Does your loved one have trouble remembering appointments?
  8. Does your loved one have daily problems with thinking and/or memory?

For more information about the AD8 and a score sheet, click here.