Article Category: Home Care, Senior Care, Eldercare, In-Home Care, Caregivers, Home.

U.S. Dementia Rates Are Dropping Even As Population Ages

This is a very good news for the millions of aging Americans who choose home care. Every year, about 4 to 5 million Americans are estimated to develop dementia. A study funded by the National Institute on Aging calculated that about $215 billion is spent annually for care of dementia patients, surpassing cancer which costs $77 billion and heart disease which is at $102 billion, thereby making it the most expensive disease in America.

With the exploding numbers of American Baby Boomers, we were all at fear that dementia will break the financial capacity of the healthcare system. However, according to the newest data, dementia rates in U.S. are rapidly declining.

Dementia rates dropped from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012. It was discovered that over these 12 years, dementia rates fell by 24 percent in Americans 65 years of age and older. The same trend has been found in previous studies, but only with a much smaller and less diverse population like the residents of a few areas in England and the mostly white population of Framingham, Mass.

According to Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, the dementia rate can change at any point in time because it is not immutable.

This large nationally representative survey showed that people tend to get dementia when they get much older. The average age at which people received a diagnosis of dementia in 2000 was at 80.7, but in 2012, it was at 82.4.

The two statistics that weigh heavily on dementia rates are diabetes and obesity. The study found that diabetes increased the risk of dementia by 39 percent. The diabetes prevalence among older Americans increased from 9 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2012, and it only began to fall very recently. But despite an increase in diabetes, the dementia decline still occurred, which might seem unexpected in a way.

The obesity picture appears to be muddled. Although other studies have found dementia risk in old age due to obesity in middle age, the study, however, made some rather puzzling findings on obesity. Compared with normal weight people, it found a 30 percent lower risk of dementia among obese and overweight people.

Although the study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the institute, however, was not involved with the collection, interpretation, or analysis of data. Some of the data points seem counterintuitive, but the researchers remain optimistic.

As more and more aging Americans continue to age in the comfort of their own homes, let us hope that the dementia rates will continue to remain promising.

With love for the Elderly…

Article Topic: Home Care, Senior Care, Eldercare, In-Home Care, Caregivers, Home

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