Abstract The interpretation of proverbs is a quick way to assess the ability of patients to think figuratively. Dementing patients think in literal, concrete ways. For example,

Ask the patient the meaning of "A stitch in time saves nine."

The dementing person will talk about clothing, sewing, mending, and so on. The normal answer will be something about small amounts of early maintenance preventing major repairs at a later date.

Logical Logical thinking can be tested with a variety of short, simple questions:

• What is similar between an orange and a lemon?

• What is similar between a pair of scissors and a knife?

• If you found a sealed, addressed, stamped envelope on the street, what would you do with it? Correct: Pick it up and drop it in the next mailbox. Wrong: Open it, find the name of the sender or the intended recipient, and try to contact one or the other, etc.

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