Simple home test detects signs of early Alzheimer’s
If you suspect that your older adult is having problems with memory, thinking, or judgement, you may want them to take the SAGE test for dementia. This at-home pen-and-paper test is free, takes just 15 minutes, and accurately identifies early symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
And if the stress and exhaustion of caregiving are making you feel like your brain isn’t working anymore, this quick test can reassure you that there’s no problem with your cognitive function.
Why get an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis?
Alzheimer’s and dementia are incurable conditions so it might seem useless to get diagnosed. Many people would just rather not know. But an early Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis has significant benefits. The most important is that a treatable condition could be the cause of cognitive impairment. Finding out sooner means getting treatment ASAP to eliminate the cognitive symptoms.
If the cognitive impairment is caused by Alzheimer’s or dementia, a major benefit is that starting treatments early is far more effective in managing symptoms and delaying progression of the disease.
How the SAGE test for dementia works
SAGE stands for Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination and was developed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The SAGE test has 12 questions that cover all aspects of cognition, including memory, problem solving, and language.
There are 4 different versions of the test. They’re similar enough, but having the versions means that someone could take the test once a year and wouldn’t improve their score each year just from the “practice” of taking it before. This way, the test is slightly different each time.
When the test is repeated over time, doctors can watch for changes in cognitive ability. Being able to see slight changes helps them detect and treat health conditions early.
Take the SAGE test at home
Anyone can take the SAGE test anytime. It’s free and you can get it here on the Ohio State University website.
Click the “Download Test” button and select “I agree and download test” to choose one of the 4 test versions — it doesn’t matter which one. Print the test and take it with a pen or pencil. There’s no time limit, but most people finish in about 15 minutes.
Then, bring the test to the doctor to have it scored and find out if further testing is needed. The SAGE test helps doctors detects early signs of cognitive impairment that are typically not noticeable during a normal office visit.
Sample questions from the test:
- How many nickels are in 60 cents?
- You are buying $13.45 of groceries. How much change would you receive back from a $20 bill?
- Write down the names of 12 different animals.
- Draw a large face of a clock and place in the numbers.Position the hands for 10 minutes after 11 o’clock. On your clock, label “L” for the long hand and “S” for the short hand.