Background: Original studies published over the last decade regarding time trends in dementia report mixed results. The aims of the present study were to use linked administrative health data for the province of Saskatchewan for the period 2005/2006 to 2012/2013 to: (1) examine simultaneous temporal trends in annual age- and sex-specific dementia incidence and prevalence among individuals aged 45 and older, and (2) stratify the changes in incidence over time by database of identification.
Methods: Using a population-based retrospective cohort study design, data were extracted from seven provincial administrative health databases linked by a unique anonymized identification number. Individuals 45 years and older at first identification of dementia between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2013 were included, based on case definition criteria met within any one of four administrative health databases (hospital, physician, prescription drug, and long-term care).
Results: Between 2005/2006 and 2012/2013, the 12-month age-standardized incidence rate of dementia declined significantly by 11.07% and the 12-month age-standardized prevalence increased significantly by 30.54%. The number of incident cases decreased from 3,389 to 3,270 and the number of prevalent cases increased from 8,795 to 13,012. Incidence rate reductions were observed in every database of identification.
Conclusions: We observed a simultaneous trend of decreasing incidence and increasing prevalence of dementia over a relatively short 8-year time period from 2005/2006 to 2012/2013. These trends indicate that the average survival time of dementia is lengthening. Continued observation of these time trends is warranted given the short study period.
Keywords: administrative data; dementia; diagnosis; epidemiology; hospital; long-term care; physician; prescription drug.