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Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability

Section 2: Characteristics of disability in adult life

2.7. What are the conditions and symptoms of adults 65 years and older with mental disability?

More than 1.72 million people 65 years and over (5.4% of that population) reported one or more mental conditions. The main selected conditions were "Alzheimer’s, senility, or dementia" (1.22 million people, 3.8% of the population 65 years and over); and "other mental or emotional conditions" (506,000, 1.6%).

About 1.68 million people (5.3%) reported one or more mental symptoms that seriously interfered with the ability to manage day-to-day activities. The most common symptoms were "frequently anxious or depressed" (1.26 million, 3.9%), "trouble coping with stress" (971,000, 3.0%), and "trouble concentrating" (967,000, 3.0%).

Another 2.4 million people 65 and over (7.5%) reported "difficulty keeping track of money and bills."

Of people 65 years and over, 5.4% had one or more mental conditions, 5.3% had mental symptoms that interfered with daily activities, and 7.5% had difficulty keeping track of money and bills.

People age 65 years and older Number Percent
With a mental disability 3,912,000 12.2%
With 1 or more selected conditions 1,722,000 5.4%
  A learning disability 210,000 0.7%
  Mental retardation 114,000 0.4%
  Alzheimers, senility or dementia 1,219,000 3.8%
  Other mental/emotional condition 506,000 1.6%
With 1 or more selected symptoms that seriously interfered with everyday activities 1,684,000 5.3%
  Frequently depressed or anxious 1,256,000 3.9%
  Trouble getting along with others 325,000 1.0%
  Trouble concentrating 967,000 3.0%
  Trouble coping with stress 971,000 3.0%
Had difficulty keeping track of money and bills 2,402,000 7.5%
Figure 13: Percentage of people age 65 and over with mental conditions, with symptoms that interfere with everyday activities, and with difficulty keeping track of money/bills

Source: McNeil (2001)

Surveys: SIPP, 1997

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