Across the U.S. and in Utah, dementia on the rise in adults

Nov 3, 2022, 3:23 PM
Utahs numbers rising in Alzheimer patients....
Elderly Utahans are suffering from Alzheimers and other cognitive diseases. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Almost 10% of Americans over age 65 have dementia according to new research from Columbia University, and the numbers in Utah corroborate the national findings.

Kristy Russell, an Alzheimer disease and related Dementias specialist with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, says Utah knew in 2020 that one in ten adults over age 65 showed signs of Alzheimer’s.

That report found, additionally, that one in three adults over age 85 in Utah showed signs of the disease.

The study conducted by Columbia is the first look into the prevalence of dementia in more than 20 years. 

Russel said that the increasing number of adults with dementia is alarming.  

“We are expecting a 23.5 % increase from 2020 to 2025 of people suffering from the disease. We are 10th highest in the nation of projected increase of people with Alzheimer’s dementia.” Russel said,  “Numbers are going up nationwide due to the increasing numbers in the older adult population. People are living longer and the older you are the more risk you have of dementia.”

She also said that those over the age of 65 should have yearly cognitive screenings along with typical wellness checks. This is especially true, she said, if someone is noticing signs of memory loss or decreased problem-solving skills. 

Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s

While there is no way to prevent dementia, officials say there is a way to reduce risk beginning as a younger adult. 

“Eat healthy, get exercise, keep your mind active by doing puzzles and staying social,” Kristy said. “It will reduce your risk. It doesn’t totally prevent it. But that’s the best we can do right now.”

Paying attention to cognitive health can help helps adults see when a problem may have arisen.

“If you are noticing any cognition issues in yourself or in a loved one, talk to a doctor. There is not a one-and-done test or treatment for Alzheimer’s, but the sooner you can see a doctor the better off you are.” 

To learn more about Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, visit Utah’s aging web page

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Across the U.S. and in Utah, dementia on the rise in adults