Contemporary Issues in Gerontology: Promoting Positive Ageing

By V. Minichiello; I. Coulson | Go to book overview

5

Considerations and challenges in the
prevention of dementia

Irene Coulson

Rodrigo Mariño

Vicki Strang

In most developed countries the average life expectancy is now close to 80 years, with the most rapidly increasing segment comprising those who are more than 80 (Henderson & Jorm 2000). In these countries, a 65-year-old person is expected to live eighteen more years; an 85-year-old person is expected to live five more years (WHO 2001). With these increases, and the strong association between advancing age and the prevalence of dementia, the absolute and relative number of people living with dementia will increase significantly.

The prevalence and incidence of dementia increase exponentially with age. The prevalence of dementia doubles every five years, up to 85 years of age (Henderson & Jorm 2000), affecting 1 per cent of those aged 60—64, increasing to 3 per cent at age 70 and to 20—30 per cent at 85 years of age (Prince 1997; Henderson & Jorm 2000). The prevalence amongst older nursing home residents, as a group, is estimated to be 60—80 per cent (Marcantonio 2002). Dementia is the leading cause of institutionalisation amongst the elderly in western countries and accounts for more than half of nursing home admissions (Marcantonio 2002).

In the United States, somewhere between 4 and 5 million people are affected by dementia; this number is expected to quadruple by 2040 (Binstock et al 1992; Prince 1997). In Australia, predictions

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