The Assessment of Functioning in Daily Life
The existence of a functional impairment that interferes with social or professional abilities or leads to a loss of autonomy in everyday life activities is an important component of the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), according to the most widely used criteria, such as the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), the NINCDS-ADRDA (McKhann et al., 1984), and the ICD-10 (World Health Organization, 1993). In a recent study conducted on a large sample of early AD patients, Loewenstein, Ownby, et al. (2001) confirmed that specific assessment of functional abilities must complete the neuropsychological evaluation to maximize the accuracy of AD diagnosis. In addition, it has been shown that important dissociations can be found within some subjects between cognitive and functional measures and that the extent of changes of both measures may differ over time (Skurla, Rogers, & Sunderland, 1988; Teunisse & Derix, 1991), thus stressing the need for a specific evaluation of the functional domain in addition to cognitive functioning.