Prevalence of dementia in the 'oldest old' of a Dutch community

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991 Aug;39(8):755-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1991.tb02696.x.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence rate of dementia in subjects 85 years of age and over.

Design: A two-phase design with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in the screening phase and the Geriatric Mental State Schedule (GMS) in the diagnostic phase.

Setting: Community survey including subjects in residential care.

Subjects: All (n = 1,259) inhabitants of Leiden, The Netherlands, aged 85 years and over on December 1, 1986. First phase participation rate was 71% (17% dropout due to death); second phase participation rate was 82%.

Main outcome measure: DSM-III diagnosis of dementia without further specification of the etiology of the dementia.

Results: An overall prevalence rate of 23% (95% C.I.: 19%-26%) was found. This included 12% mild dementia, 7% moderate and 4% severe dementia. The prevalence rate was higher among women (24%) than among men (18%). It increased with age from 19% (95% C.I.: 16%-22%) in the group of 85-89 years to 32% (95% C.I.: 26%-39%) in the group of 90-94 years to 41% (95% C.I.: 25%-58%) in the 95+ group.

Conclusion: A fifth of the 85+ and a third of the 90+ population suffer from dementia with an indication that half of the 95+ population is affected. With the expected steep rise in the number of the oldest old, dementia will stay a major health problem in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over*
  • Dementia / classification
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Patient Dropouts / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Urban Population