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As the largest generation in U.S. history - the population born in the two decades immediately following World War II - enters the age of risk for cognitive impairment, growing numbers of people will experience dementia (including Alzheimer's disease and related dementias). By one estimate, nearly 14 million people in the United States will be living with dementia by 2060. Like other hardships, the experience of living with dementia can bring unexpected moments of intimacy, growth, and compassion, but these diseases also affect people's capacity to work and carry out other activities and alter their relationships with loved ones, friends, and coworkers. Those who live with and care for individuals experiencing these diseases face challenges that include physical and emotional stress, difficult changes and losses in their relationships with life partners, loss of income, and interrupted connections to other activities and friends. From a societal perspective, these diseases place substantial demands on communities and on the institutions and government entities that support people living with dementia and their families, including the health care system, the providers of direct care, and others.

Nevertheless, research in the social and behavioral sciences points to possibilities for preventing or slowing the development of dementia and for substantially reducing its social and economic impacts. At the request of the National Institute on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Reducing the Impact of Dementia in America assesses the contributions of research in the social and behavioral sciences and identifies a research agenda for the coming decade. This report offers a blueprint for the next decade of behavioral and social science research to reduce the negative impact of dementia for America's diverse population. Reducing the Impact of Dementia in America calls for research that addresses the causes and solutions for disparities in both developing dementia and receiving adequate treatment and support. It calls for research that sets goals meaningful not just for scientists but for people living with dementia and those who support them as well.

By 2030, an estimated 8.5 million Americans will have Alzheimer's disease and many more will have other forms of dementia. Through identifying priorities social and behavioral science research and recommending ways in which they can be pursued in a coordinated fashion, Reducing the Impact of Dementia in America will help produce research that improves the lives of all those affected by dementia.

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Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reducing the Impact of Dementia in America: A Decadal Survey of the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26175.

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Publication Info

360 pages | 6 x 9 | 

ISBNs: 
  • Paperback:  978-0-309-49503-5
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-49801-2
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/26175

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