If Your Spouse Gets Alzheimer’s You Might Too

The study followed 1,250 couples aged 65 and older, in Utah who were dementia-free at the start of the study. 

During 12 years of follow-up, 125 husbands and 70 wives developed dementia, and both the husband and wife developed dementia in 30 couples. 

After adjusting for a number of factors, the researchers found that people with a spouse who developed dementia were six times more likely to develop dementia themselves than people whose spouses never had dementia. Men had a higher risk than women.

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease are the leading and most costly condition requiring long term health care among seniors.  The Association tracks research and reports on the leading long term care insurance companies.

On the positive side, the majority of individuals with spouses who develop dementia did not themselves develop dementia, therefore more research is needed to explore which factors distinguish those who are more vulnerable.

The study was published May 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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