Background: The progression of dementia, which impairs motor skills and cognitive function, is a warning of greater disability. The present study investigated the association between hand fine motor skills, assessed according to the Functioning Disability Evaluation Scale - Adult Version (FUNDES-Adult), and dementia severity. Methods: People with mild and moderate to severe dementia were identified from the Taiwan Data Bank of Persons with Disability. The FUNDES-Adult was assessed for all enrollees, and the following hand fine motor skills were evaluated: pen-holding, buttoning, and knotting. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS, and P values < 0.05 were considered significant. Results: Disability in all the 3 fin. motor skills was significantly greater in patients with moderate to severe dementia than in those with mild dementia. Disability in any of the skills was sensitive to distinguish mild from moderate to severe dementia (sensitivity: 78.1 %, specificity: 55.2 %, area under the curve: 0.739, 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 0.734−0.745). Those with fine motor skill disability were at a significantly higher risk of moderate to severe dementia (odds ratio: 3.71, 95 % CI: 3.53–3.90, P < .001). Conclusion: Hand fine motor skill disability was more prevalent in patients with moderate to severe dementia than in patients with mild dementia. A straightforward motor skill assessment can serve as a screening tool in the community to detect the progression of dementia.
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