CDC report: Utah seniors among healthiest in nation

Published: Friday, July 19 2013 6:43 p.m. MDT

According to Holmgren, the majority of seniors 65 and older in Utah are healthy, self-sufficient and have strong support systems. For those who are not, the Division of Aging and Adult Services passes funding along to 12 regions in Utah to provide them with meal, home care and social opportunities.

One drawback to the aging population in Utah is the growing number of those who have Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Holmgren said. The older people get, the greater their risk.

As of 2010, roughly 32,000 people ages 65 and older suffered from Alzheimer's, according to data from the Alzheimer's Assocation. Utah is projected to have approximately 50,000 residents with the disease by 2025, a 127 percent increase since 2000.

"It's because we are a healthy state. We live longer, but the probability of having a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis increases with age," Jack Jenks, executive director of the Utah chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said.

New "preclinical or presymptomatic" research on the disease may shed light into what has been an unknown disease. Heathly people are being measured in clinical trials and their health will be compared with other populations.

"Alzheimer's disease is where cancer was in the 1950s and where AIDS was in the 1960s," Jenks said.

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

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