A new CDC study of 13 US states reveals an estimated 4 million households have at least one adult with worsening confusion or memory loss, potentially affecting more than 10 million people.
Using data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, researchers analyzed data from households in 13 states in which the respondent or another adult household member experienced increased confusion or memory loss in the past 12 months. A total of 12.6 percent of households reported at least one adult who experienced increased confusion or memory loss, and in 5.4 percent of households all adults experienced increased confusion or memory loss.
This study is the first to report on increased confusion or memory loss in households and provides insight into the impact of cognitive decline on families. Because older adults with memory complaints have a greater risk than those without memory complaints for developing mild cognitive impairment (a potential precursor to Alzheimer’s disease), households in which older adults have memory complaints could face health and financial consequences.
“These findings highlight the magnitude of the problem of cognitive decline and can help inform public health programs and policies,” researchers write. “For example, increasing awareness about recognition of signs and symptoms of cognitive decline in self or others can allow household members to seek medical advice and plan for future needs.”
Increased Confusion and Memory Loss in Households, 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Angela J. Deokar, MPH; Erin D. Bouldin, PhD; Valerie J. Edwards, PhD; Lynda A. Anderson, PhD, Preventing Chronic Disease, DOI: 10.5888/pcd12.140430, published 5 March 2015.