This is what I found on

If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d become fascinated with aging, I’d have snorted in disbelief. Why on earth would I, then aged 56, want to spend my time thinking about something so dismal and depressing? That was before I started a project about workers over 80 and learning about longevity. It didn’t take long to realize that almost everything I thought I knew was way off base — or flat-out wrong. Here are some of the numbers I came across:

2.5%: I thought the odds of ending up in some grim institution were pretty good, especially if I lived long enough. In fact, the percentage of Americans over 65 in nursing homes is just 2 and a half percent, and it’s dropping. Even for people 85 and up, the number is only 9 percent.

90%: What about the specter of dementia? Here’s the thing: Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, but it is not typical of aging. One in 10 people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer’s dementia, which means that 90 percent do not. Even as the population ages, dementia rates are falling significantly, according to a 2017 report by the Journal of the American Medical Association, and people are being diagnosed at older and older ages. The real epidemic is anxiety about memory loss.


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