Older Adults Are Increasingly Identifying—But Still Likely Underestimating—Cognitive Impairment

Older Adults Are Increasingly Identifying—But Still Likely Underestimating—Cognitive Impairment

The number of people reporting cognitive impairment issues in their families is rising.  This is good since treatments started earlier can help manage symptoms and improve outcomes.  Spotting a family member that is having trouble remembering or showing periods of confusion, means we are paying attention to our older family members.

Self-reporting of memory problems is also on the increase.  The stigma for older folks who are having memory issues talking with their children, spouse or doctor is also diminishing.  Which is good.  Getting the proper help early can ease everyone’s frustration and fear.

It is interesting to note, that not all racial profiles respond at the same percentages for reporting a family member or self-reporting.  Health education may need to be improved so that everyone understands the signs to watch for and know where to go to get help.

Key Points:

  • 1Detecting cognitive impairment early can result in timely medical treatments and prevention.
  • 2Cognitive impairment has been increasing in the number of older adults during the past two decades.
  • 3The number of people age 65 and over is expected to more than double by 2050.


The aging population in the U.S. is growing rapidly, with the number of people age 65 and over in 2010 (40.2 million) projected to more than double by 2050. With the rapid increase in the aging population, the size of the population with cognitive impairment and dementia will continue to accelerate, highlighting the importance of identifying cognitive changes.
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