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Few Seniors Receive Regular Brief Cognitive Assessments

WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2019 -- Only 16 percent of seniors receive regular cognitive assessments, according to the Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report published March 5.

The authors of the report address the prevalence and risk of Alzheimer disease, as well as the impact of caregiving and national costs of care. In addition, the report focuses on attitudes toward cognitive assessment among seniors and primary care physicians (PCPs).

According to the report, an estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer disease in 2019; 5.6 million are aged 65 years and older. The number of people aged 65 years and older with Alzheimer disease is projected to reach 7.1 million and 13.8 million by 2025 and by 2050, respectively, barring the development of a medical breakthrough to prevent, slow, or cure the disease. Routine assessment is crucial for early detection of Alzheimer disease and other dementias and provides benefits including financial benefits. However, only half of seniors are being assessed, and only 16 percent get regular brief cognitive assessments. Half of seniors report sometimes or frequently noticing changes in their ability to think, understand, or remember, and 22 percent worry about these issues. Only 40 percent have talked to a health care provider about their concerns.

"The surveys highlight a number of educational opportunities for seniors and PCPs alike that have the potential to lead to the better utilization of brief cognitive assessments and the greater detection and diagnosis of cognitive impairment and dementia that are so urgently needed," according to the report.

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Posted: March 2019

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