Aims: To describe the overall prevalence of dementia syndrome and its major subtypes among elderly clients of a private health care plan and to ascertain the association between this syndrome and socioeconomic characteristics.
Methods: A survey was organized in two stages: screening for cognitive impairment and diagnostic evaluation. The study population comprised 683 elderly subjects (aged >67 years), an expanded sample of 7,486 individuals, of the database of the FIBRA-RJ, which evaluated clients of a private health care plan residing in northern districts of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The diagnosis of dementia was obtained according to DSM-IV criteria.
Results: A total of 115 individuals were diagnosed with dementia, resulting in a prevalence of 16.9% (95% CI = 14.4-19.8). The association was strongest among older age groups, i.e. 85-89 years old (prevalence ratio = 8.85; 95% CI = 2.11-37.11) and 90 or more years old (prevalence ratio = 8.85; 95% CI = 2.11-37.11), and among illiterate people (prevalence ratio = 2.77; 95% CI = 1.07-7.19). Sex, personal income and marital status displayed no association with dementia.
Conclusion: The prevalence of dementia was higher than found by population-based studies. These findings point to a possibility of a high demand for specialized services among older adults served by the private health care sector.
Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.