There are senior citizens out there with dementia and they don’t even know it, says a recent Johns Hopkins study. Data from 585 Medicare recipients with probable dementia found 6o% were either not diagnosed or were unaware of their diagnosis. This study focused on seniors age 65 and up.
Those who had only an elementary school education and had fewer problems with daily tasks were more likely to be among the unaware ones. Hispanics were also more likely to have undiagnosed dementia, according to the study.
About 5.7 million people in the United States have dementia, but, incredibly, only half of them have a formal doctor’s diagnosis, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Early diagnosis is important for maintaining or improving health and for planning care. These findings show the need for more careful screening of senior citizens.
Therefore, Doctors should focus more on minorities, those with lower levels of education, and those who come in by themselves.
The full study results can be read in the July issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.