Could Natural Disasters Increase Dementia Likelihood?

There are various things that could end up triggering increased long-term care needs for an elderly individual. One are major unexpected events. Take natural disasters for example.

For one, a senior could end up getting injured during such a disaster. Such injuries, particularly severe ones, could give rise to all sorts of care needs a senior didn’t previously have.

A recent study indicates that another way a natural disaster might impact an elderly person’s long-term care needs is by increasing their dementia likelihood.

The study focused on a group of elderly survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that Japan saw in 2011. The group in question consisted of around 3,600 people.

In the study, researchers compared the dementia rate this group had before the disaster and the rate it had two-and-a-half years following its occurrence.

The study found that the dementia rate was significantly higher two-and-a-half years following the disaster (11.5 percent) than it was before it occurred (4.1 percent). It further found that dementia likelihood was particularly high among the survivors who got displaced from their homes due to the disaster destroying or damaging their home.

This suggests that being forced to leave one’s home due to a disaster may be associated with increased cognitive decline among seniors.

Increased cognitive decline is among the things that can create special long-term care needs for a senior.

As this underscores, upped long-term care costs can come about in many different ways, including through unexpected events. So, no one is completely immune to the possibility of facing such costs. This is why, whatever one’s circumstances, coming up with a long-term care plan could prove helpful. Good preparation can be invaluable when the unexpected strikes. Skilled attorneys can guide individuals here in Michigan through the process of long-term care planning.

Source: UPI, “Disasters may raise dementia risk for dislocated seniors: Study,” Oct. 25, 2016

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