Approximately 5 percent of seniors report one or more cognitive disorders

Research Activities, March 2011, No. 367

Slightly over 5 percent of the nearly 39 million Americans aged 65 and older in 2007 reported one or more cognitive disorders, such as senility or dementia, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Seniors aged 85 and older were the most likely to have reported one or more cognitive disorders (18.4 percent), compared with seniors aged 75 to 84 (6 percent) and seniors aged 65 to 74 (1.1 percent).

AHRQ found that for elderly Americans aged 65 and older in 2007:

  • Seniors with less than a high school education were more likely to have reported one or more cognitive disorders than seniors that were high school graduates (8.6 vs. 4.9 percent) or seniors with more than a high school education (2.7 percent ).
  • Nearly 8 percent of poor seniors reported one or more cognitive disorders compared with 4.1 percent of middle- and high-income seniors reporting such a condition.
  • Nearly 11 percent of seniors who had both Medicare and another type of supplemental public insurance reported one or more cognitive disorders, compared with 5 percent of seniors with Medicare only and 4.1 percent of seniors with Medicare and supplemental private insurance.
  • Average annual health care expenses for seniors reporting one or more cognitive disorders totaled $15,549 a year compared with $9,019 for seniors not reporting any cognitive disorders.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Personal Characteristics of the Elderly Reporting One or More Cognitive Disorders, 2007.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of March 2011
Internet Citation: Approximately 5 percent of seniors report one or more cognitive disorders: Research Activities, March 2011, No. 367. March 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/mar11/0311RA33.html