Friday, July 10, 2020

Interesting Reactions to a Standard Question for Mini-Mental Exams: Who is the President?

As most of us who have accompanied an elderly parent to a doctor are aware, standard questions in most mini-mental exams include asking the individual to identify the day of the week and the date, and to name the president of the United States.  During my mother's physical decline after age 90, she was watching cable news programs obsessively and we later joked that we should have paid more attention to her when she insisted during the summer of 2016 that the "polls predicting Hillary Clinton's election are wrong."  After the election, when asked to identify the president, she would cast a rueful gaze on the questioner and make it clear she both knew who it was and whether she approved.

But apparently there is a much deeper history to older persons' responses.  Without getting too political about my selection here, the history can be summarized in one report from a recent twitter feed:

"I work as a Paramedic and often one of my questions for patients to determine cog is to ask who the president is.. The replies I get are often correct and almost always followed up with interesting adjectives. I've been doing this 26 years and only last few [have] been that way."

Some of the other comments involve more poignant humor, but, still, interesting!  Can you get "extra credit" points on a mini-mental exam?

Cognitive Impairment, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s | Permalink


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