Lifetime risk of dementia in the United States
Demography, Population, and Ecology
Family, Life Course, and Society
Medicine and Health
Dementia is increasingly recognized as a major source of disease burden in the United States, on par with heart disease and cancer. Little research has evaluated the lifecycle implications of dementia. To address this research gap, this article uses the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) to provide the first nationally representative, longitudinal estimates of the probability that a dementia-free person will develop dementia later in life. I estimate that for the 1920 birth cohort, the average dementia-free 70 year old male had a 23.7% (SE: 2.9%) lifetime probability of developing dementia, and the average dementia-free 70 year old female had a 31.8% (SE: 3.6%) probability. These estimates of lifetime risk of dementia rise for younger cohorts, and they are higher than those found in local epidemiological studies in the U.S. They suggest a widespread need to prepare for a life stage with dementia.