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Living Alone
Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 8:00 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

Living Alone with Dementia Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS). The
The percentage of Americans with Alzheimer’s ADAMS data cited here included 1,770 people chosen
disease and other dementias who live alone is less to represent the characteristics of Americans age 71 or
straightforward to determine, but several sources of older living in the 48 contiguous states in the years
information yield consistent estimates. For the 2000 and 2002.(164-165) Among participants in the study
remainder of this report, counts of people who live who met the diagnostic criteria for dementia,
alone include only those living in the community; that 32.4 percent lived alone.(165-166) However, this study
is, it does not include people who live in assisted living included people who lived alone in residential care
facilities, nursing homes, or similar facilities that facilities, so this value is probably higher than the
provide residential support. percentage who lived alone in the community.
Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Other Studies
The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) is an In a study of 1,000 people who provide unpaid care for
ongoing survey of about 13,000 Medicare beneficiaries someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias
chosen to be representative of Medicare beneficiaries who lived in the community, 21 percent indicated that
nationwide. It provides the largest and most recent the care recipient lived alone.(167) This percentage
estimates of how many Americans who have a probably underestimates the number of people with
diagnosis of dementia live alone. Data are reported for dementia who live alone because as many as one-third
2008, the most recent year for which data are to one-half of people with dementia who live alone
available.(13, A21 have no identifiable caregiver.(168-170)
Among Medicare beneficiaries who reported having Another survey asked a nationally representative
been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other sample of caregivers about the living situation of their
dementias in the MCBS, 42 percent lived in a nursing care recipient. Of the 423 care recipients older than
home or other facility that provided residential support 50 who had Alzheimer’s disease and who lived in
(e.g., assisted living facility), 44 percent lived in the the community, 100 (25 percent) lived alone.(102) As
community with another person, and the remaining with the preceding study, this percentage may be an
15 percent lived alone in the community. Among those underestimate.
who lived in the community, 25 percent — or one out
of four — lived alone.(13
Several smaller studies during the past two decades
have found that 20 to 35 percent of people with
As reported in the Prevalence section of this report, it dementia who lived in the community (not in a nursing
is estimated that 5.4 million people in the United home or assisted living facility) lived alone.(168-169, 171-173)
States have Alzheimer’s disease (page 14). Assuming
that the living situations of people who have
Alzheimer’s disease are similar to the living situations
of people who have all types of dementia in the MCBS
data, it can be estimated that 800,000 (15 percent
of 5.4 million) people in the United States have
Alzheimer’s disease and live alone in the community.