A BURGEONING POPULATION. . .
2000: The elderly -- those 65 and older -- numbered
2050: The number is projected to increase to 78.9 million.
. . . INCREASING RAPIDLY. . .
1988: The elderly population numbered 30 million.
2011: It is expected to reach 40 million.
2019: Just eight years later, it is expected to increase to
. . .AND GROWING EVER MORE AGED
1994: The "old old" population -- those 85 and above --
numbered 3.5 million.
2020: It is projected to double to 7 million.
2040: It is expected to double again, to 14 million.
2050: The oldest old could number as many as 31 million.
THE DRAIN OF DEMENTIA
Dementia, a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's
abilities to carry out daily activities, involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.
Symptoms of dementia include: repeatedly asking the same question; becoming lost in familiar places; being unable to follow directions; being disoriented about time, people and places;
neglecting personal safety and nutrition.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease.
As many as 4 million Americans are believed to suffer from
Alzheimer's. About 3 percent of those aged 65 and older have the disease, while nearly half of those aged 85 and above may have it. On average, Alzheimer's patients live from eight to 10 years after diagnosis.
SOURCES: U.S. Census, National Institute on Aging