Study Estimates that One in Two Woman and One in Three Men will Get Dementia, Stroke or Parkinsonism

Prepare for Long-term Care (NIA)

Neurological diseases like strokes, dementia and Parkinson’s are leading causes of disability, death and enormous financial expenses among seniors and their families. The global cost for dementia, stroke and Parkinson’s disease is expected to rise significantly over the next few years.

The Rotterdam Study

A large population based Dutch study published October, 2018 in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry estimates that one in two women and one in three men will get dementia, a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. However, the researchers emphasize that preventive strategies which could delay the onset of the diseases by a few years in seniors aged 85 or older could possibly lower this risk by 20-50%.

Methods of the Study

Between 1990 and 2016 the researchers followed after 14,926 participants (more than 50% were women) aged 45 and older who were free from diseases when they enrolled in the study. The participants were all from Western European ancestry who have long life spans.


During the 26 years of follow-up the following were diagnosed:

1489 diagnosed with dementia

1285 with stroke

263 with Parkinson’s disease

Multiple Diseases

Of those diagnosed with the above 3 diseases, 438 were also diagnosed with multiple diseases. Women were more likely to be diagnosed with multiple diseases than men and were diagnosed first with dementia before the onset of other diseases. Also, women were twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with both stroke and dementia during their lifetime. Men were at risk for having a stroke at younger ages than women.

Risks for Neurological Diseases

Men were more likely to be diagnosed with a stroke from age 45+ whereas women were more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.


The researchers are trying to raise the same level of awareness for lifetime risks for dementia, stroke and Parkinson’s disease, as there presently exists for heart disease and cancer. For instance, research shows that one in four people will die of heart disease and one in eight will die of breast cancer. However, one in two women and one in three men will die of dementia, Parkinson’s disease or a stroke and yet people are more focused on heart disease and cancer and research for heart disease and cancer get more funding than research for neurological diseases. The researchers hope that the results of this study will lead to more funding for research and preventive strategies to delay or slow down the progression of dementia, Parkinson’s disease or strokes.


These results should be a wake-up call. Since the chances are so high for seniors to get these devastating neurological diseases, it is to be hoped that research will come up with a way or preventing, delaying or slowing down the progress of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Also, since most of these diseases can lead to short or long-term skilled rehabilitation and nursing stays in a residential facility, people must prepare to have some kind of way of covering these costs like investing in long-term nursing care insurance. The time to prepare is before you reach old age.

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York

If you or your loved one are in need of short or long-term skilled nursing care you should find one skilled in speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and memory care that also offers the chance to participate in good recreational therapy programs. A good example would be the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York. To learn more about recreational therapy at Van Duyn please see our blog posts from May 30, 2018 and from July 11, 2018.


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