Veterans experiencing housing instability may face an elevated risk of developing dementia


In a recent study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Veterans with housing instability were 53% more likely to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia (ADRD) than those with stable housing.

The study included 44,194 Veterans experiencing homelessness or housing instability and 44,194 with secure housing who were followed from 2011 to 2019. None of the Veterans had a diagnosis of ADRD prior to 2011.

By 2015, the midpoint of the study, 7.23% and 3.66% of housing insecure and housing stable Veterans, respectively, received an ADRD diagnosis.

Previous studies have also found that Veterans with ADRD are more likely to eventually experience homelessness.

“Our findings call for greater supports for independent living for Veterans experiencing housing instability with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias—such as using federally funded housing vouchers for non-traditional options like assisted living facilities,” said corresponding author Jill Roncarati, ScD, MPH, PA-C, of the VA Bedford Healthcare System.

More information:
Jill S. Roncarati et al, Risk of dementia among veterans experiencing homelessness and housing instability, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2023). DOI: 10.1111/jgs.18680

Journal information:
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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