[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 5, December 2011].
This report looks into policy implications arising from the rising centenarian population. The report examines the basic demographics, and the resulting requirements of this population, including health and social care needs, and requirements for housing and communal living. Income and wealth issues, and a review of the general quality of life for this population are considered. The evidence about people living to be older than 100 is summarised, and knowledge gaps are identified, as a basis for making broad policy recommendations.
On Cognitive Functioning and Dementia
The likelihood of cognitive decline and dementia poses a significant threat to the continuing independence of centenarians. These conditions appear to occur among many centenarians to some degree. Estimates regarding the probability of dementia-free survival after the age of 100 vary between 0% – 50%. Cognitive decline usually accelerates among centenarians in the 6 months prior to death. Dementia typically develops in over a half of patients.
Dementia affects women disproportionately; with female centenarians being more likely to have dementia, largely because men have shorter life expectancy following a dementia diagnosis.
Serra, V. Watson, J. [and] Sinclair, D. [et al] (2011). Living beyond 100: a report on centenarians. London: The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), November 2011.
Bamford, SM. (2011). Women and dementia: not forgotten. London: The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), August 2011.