A research brief

Until around age 85, typical aging causes

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Until around age 85, typical aging causes

only minor declines in mental functioning.
However, after age 85, rates of dementia
increase dramatically.
Morgan and Kunkel’s (2001)
Aging: The Social
Context summarizes some effects of psychological aging: “Research on the physiology and psychology of aging shows that, in the absence of disabling disease, aging causes only minimal declines in functioning until age 85, at which point about 25% of elders begin to show [mental] frailty even in the absence of disease”
(Morgan and Kunkel 2001, 6).
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD)
Health at a Glance 2013 reports, “Clinical symptoms of dementia usually begin after the age of 65, and the prevalence increases markedly with age. The disease affects more women than men. In Europe, 14% of men and 16% of women aged 80–84 years were estimated as having dementia in 2009, compared to less than 4% among those under
75 years of age (Alzheimer Europe, 2009). For people aged 90 years and over, the figures rise to 31% of men and 47% of women” (OECD 2013, 176).

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