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Study: dementia rates on the decline

Dementia can impact all kinds of things in a person's life and can cause a person to have considerable long-term care needs. Given this, a trend that a recent study indicates is occurring is an encouraging one. This trend is a fall in dementia rates.

The study's researchers looked at data regarding over 5,000 individuals. From this data review, the study concluded that, over the past 40 years, dementia rates have been going down rather steadily. According to the study, the dementia rate was 3.6 percent in the late 1970s to early 1980s and had dropped all the way down to 2 percent by the late 2000s to early 2010s. This is a 44 percent decrease. A researcher with the study has stated that these study results are likely indicative of a national trend of falling dementia rates.

What is behind this trend? Heart disease decreases and improved stroke care are a couple of things that are being pointed to as possible explanations. Both strokes and heart disease have been tied to dementia risk.

One hopes efforts will be made to find ways to help lower dementia risks and that dementia rates will continue to fall in upcoming years.

Of course, just because dementia rates are going down does not mean that dementia still doesn't affect many people here in America. And dementia will likely continue to be a major health issue in upcoming years in the U.S., due to an anticipated increase in the elderly population.

Thus, the possibility of suffering dementia in the future is still something it can be very important for individuals, including individuals approaching their elderly years, to make preparations for. Estate planning can be used for such preparation. For example, individuals can set up power of attorney and health care proxy documents to designate who would make decisions for them if they develop dementia that incapacitates them when it comes to decision-making. They can also set up mechanisms, like trusts, for dealing with issues regarding long-term care costs related to dementia or other conditions. Elder law attorneys can assist individuals with incorporating dementia preparations into their estate plan.

Source: USA Today, "Study finds dementia rates falling steadily," Liz Szabo, Feb. 11, 2016

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