Important Dementia Statistics
Aging is considered to be a gracious process, but according to dementia statistics, not everyone is enjoying their “golden years”.
Recent shocking information has rocked the world of the aging population; information that projects an astounding figure of 35.6 million people that are expected to be afflicted with dementia by the year 2010. This same forecast anticipates that the figure of dementia occurrences will double every twenty years; a fact that should be enough to make everyone realize the impact this disease can have on not only family members, but on themselves as well.
The definition of dementia is the “significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity; severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning.” In layman’s terms, having this disease makes it difficult for people to remember, to learn and to communicate. Over time, the disease can also affect a person’s personality and their ability to care for themselves. They can easily become disoriented, confused and aggravated. Often, the individual who is suffering from these symptoms doesn’t even realize they are afflicted, and may become irate when confronted with the changes they exhibit.
There are many possible causes for dementia, all of which stem from the destruction of brain cells. This cell damage can result from heredity, a stroke, a brain tumor or a head injury. There are a number of symptoms that point to the disease, and an individual can suffer from just a few symptoms to several. They can include:
- Problems speaking; forgetting common words, saying the wrong words, or jumbling their words.
- Forgetting simple procedures; balancing a checkbook, following directions or completing a task could become a confusing chore.
- Forgetting basic necessities; dressing appropriately, eating on a regular schedule or completing basic toiletry routines can be forgotten.
- Getting lost; while out on errands, the individual can suddenly forget where they are and why they are there. Worse, they may not remember how to get back home, or who to call to help them.
- Misplacing items; when taking off jewelry or watches, they might place them in unusual spots and then not remember where they are. Even putting food or appliances away can be an unwanted game of hide and seek.
- Loss of interest; people suffering from dementia may lose the desire to see people or go places.
- Memory loss is the most common of symptoms. Forgetting what took place just moments before, forgetting people’s faces and names as well as other acts that are normally taken for granted.
Dementia statistics show that caregivers are also at risk to be impacted from the disease. Depression and other psychological illnesses affect up to 75% of those who care for family members who have dementia. These caregivers have provided the care needed by the dementia patients in around 70% of all dementia cases; care that is not recompensed in any way although it is calculated to value approximately $94 billion dollars. Medicare, Medicaid or private insurances often cover some of the costs that are inflicted upon the families of dementia patients; however, there are still many out of pocket costs that are at the caregiver’s expense. One of the largest expenses occurs when an individual requires the care provided in nursing homes or assisted living ; costs that can reach over $16,000 per year.
Dementia under the guise as Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and dementia statistics indicate that another individual develops the disease every 70 seconds of every day. These facts should act as a wake-up call to the millions of baby boomer Americans who are approaching the age danger zone to work towards preventing dementia. These recent findings provide startling statistics on dementia may indicate that the “golden years” may be out of reach for many people.