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Revista médica de Chile

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MELLA M, Rebeca; ALVEAR A, María; CARRILLO V, Berta  and  CAIRE V, Victor. Mental and communication disorders in Mapuche and non Mapuche elderly subjects in rural communities in southern Chile. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2003, vol.131, n.11, pp.1257-1265. ISSN 0034-9887.

The main predictors of functional impairment in the elderly are alterations in mental or communication functions. Aim: To study mental and communication functions in rural elderly subjects of Mapuche and non Mapuche origin. Patients and methods: Elderly subjects coming from a rural Mapuche community and a non Mapuche community were studied. Subjects were interviewed at their homes. The communication and mental function assessments of the Functional Autonomy Measurement System were applied. Results: Fifty one Mapuche and 49 non Mapuche subjects with a mean age of 71 ± 7 and 74 ± 8 years respectively, were studied. Fifty four percent were female and 31% were illiterate. Twenty six percent had impairment in mental functions. The item with the highest difficulty was memory. The visual function was the most severely impaired among communication items. Mapuche elderly subjects had significantly higher degrees of impairment in mental and communication functions. Conclusions: There is a higher degree of mental and communication impairment among rural Mapuche elderly subjects than in their non Mapuche counterparts (Rev Méd Chile 2003; 31: 1257-65)

Keywords : Communication disorders; Frail elderly; Indians; South American; Memory disorders.

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