(HealthDay News) – Nearly one in eight adults ≥60 years old reports increased confusion or memory loss in the previous year, according to research published in the May 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Mary L. Adams, MPH, from On Target Health Data in West Suffield, CT, and colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used data from 21 states that administered an optional module in the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. The authors sought to estimate the prevalence of self-reported confusion or memory loss and associated functional difficulties among adults ≥60 years old.

The researchers found that 12.7% of respondents reported increased confusion or memory loss in the preceding 12 months. Persons ≥85 years experienced significantly more confusion and memory loss than those aged 60–64 years or 65–74 years (15.6% vs. 12% and 11.9%, respectively). Other groups reporting significantly higher percentages of confusion or memory loss were: Hispanics or Latinos (16.9%) compared with whites (12.1%); persons with less than a high school education (16.2%) vs. persons with more education (10.9–12.5%); persons who reported being disabled (20.2%) vs. non-disabled (7.5%); and persons unable to work (28.3%) compared to those employed (7.8%), unemployed (16.4%), homemakers (11.8%), students (3.9%), and retirees (12.3%). More than one-third (35.2%) of those reporting increased confusion or memory loss experienced functional difficulties.

“These results provide baseline information about the number of non-institutionalized older adults with increased confusion or memory loss that is causing functional difficulties and might require services and [support] now or in the future,” the authors write.

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