What does an MMSE score of 23 mean?
Some useful memory impairment resources:
The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is a test given by health professionals to someone who may have dementia. Dementia refers to a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to affect daily life. This person may have Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. The MMSE is not the only test given to find out if someone has dementia, but it is a test that is often used by health care providers.
The MMSE asks questions such as “What is the year?”, “Where are we now?”, “Make up and write a sentence about anything,” and “Spell WORLD backwards.” The MMSE is used to help measure short- and long-term memory, concentration and understanding instructions. The total possible score on the test is 30 points. Some test items receive a higher score than others.
The MMSE has a maximum score of 30 points. The scores are generally grouped as follows:
- 25-30 points: normal cognition
- 21-24 points: mild dementia
- 10-20 points: moderate dementia
- 9 points or lower: severe dementia
If your loved one has a score between 21 and 24 on the MMSE, then he or she may have mild dementia. The health care professional will consider this result when deciding what health condition or disease may be present. Your loved one will likely have to complete other tests for a diagnosis, including a physical exam, a medical history, brain scans, and possibly other memory tests.
Although health care providers use the MMSE often, researchers encourage them to consider the results of this test along with the patient’s personality, behavior and their ability to manage at home and with daily life activities.
Your health care professional will let you know what next steps you need to take, depending on the diagnosis. You may need to find new care options for your loved one, such as home health care, companion services or adult day care. If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, he or she may be offered a drug designed to help patients with dementia.
These drugs may improve certain dementia symptoms, but they haven’t been shown to slow or stop the progress of dementia. Your loved one also may be asked to return in the future to take the test again. Make sure to let your health care provider know about any new problems your loved one has with memory, language, or ability to function in daily life.
Other MMSE scores: