Mental Decline Strikes 1/3 of Seniors

Alzheimer's will afflict 1 in 8 baby boomers, report projects
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 12:53 PM CDT
The one-third of American seniors with impaired cognitive abilities may need extra help or guidance from their younger relatives.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – Cognitive problems ranging from forgetting what day it is to full-blown dementia are affecting one-third of the nation's seniors, reports a new study by the National Institute on Aging. The report says 22% of those over 71 have mild impairment, added to 16% suffering dementia, the Washington Post reports. An Alzheimer's Association report out today estimates that 1 in 8 baby boomers will have the disease in their lifetime, Bloomberg reports.

While the number of elderly with dementia had been documented, the 5.4 million whose mental faculties have declined somewhat is far more than previously counted. And the cost of Medicare spending for Alzheimer's will jump from about $21 billion in 2005 to $38 billion in 2025, when boomers start to reach the median age for nursing home admission.