Study examines unsafe behaviors in older adults who likely have dementia

June 07, 2016

Older adults who likely have dementia but have not been given the diagnosis are more likely to engage in potentially unsafe activities, new research suggests.

Among 7609 Medicare beneficiaries, those with probable dementia were more likely to drive, prepare hot meals, manage finances, manage medications, and attend doctor visits alone if they had not received a dementia diagnosis than if they had received a diagnosis.

"It's important for physicians and families to realize that many individuals with dementia, especially undiagnosed dementia, engage in activities that are increasingly risky as the disease progresses," said Dr. Halima Amjad, lead author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study. "Addressing safety may be one area where diagnosing dementia earlier can make a difference if patients and families can plan for the future. Our findings also suggest that physicians can target older adults who have difficulty with these and other household activities for dementia screening."
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Wiley

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