The progressive and rapid aging of population is the demographic characteristic in the Western countries. This rapid process of aging is causing an increasing burden on the social and health-care services. In this context, the precise knowledge of the environmental, socio-economical and clinical characteristics of the elderly population is mandatory to find the correct strategies to achieve the successful aging.
Our study aimed to investigate the functional and clinical characteristics of the elderly (aged 60 to 85 years) of San Teodoro (1500 inhabitants), a rural village of Central Sicily, in particularly considering the dementia prevalence. In 2005, all the elderly between 60 and 85 years old were invited to participate to the study.
The list of the potential participants was obtained from the Registry office of the municipality. The final number of the eligible subjects was 374. Rate of participation was 74.9% (280 subjects, 120 M and 160 F). The study was conducted door-to-door.
Dementia prevalence was 7.1% (20 subjects, 8 M and 12 F), with 60% Alzheimer's disease and 15% vascular dementia, slightly higher than that of the European countries (6%). The high prevalence of hypertension (80.3%) and the low education level, two important risk factors for dementia, could explain in part the difference observed.
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Published online: March 05, 2009
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