Objectives: (1) To determine the attitudes and perceptions of the elderly with regard to dementia. (2) To correlate these beliefs with demographic variables of age, sex, intelligence scores and social class. Method: A postal questionnaire survey of a sample of 562 subjects of the Manchester University Age and Cognitive Performance longitudinal study group. Results: The response rate was 95%. Most responders (69%) did not worry about dementia, although they were more likely to think about it if they had a family member with dementia (p < 0.005). There is no link between social class, sex, intelligence scores and age with regard to worries and concerns of dementia. The majority of responders (82%) took action to maintain their health but demonstrated poor awareness of risks or protective factors for dementia. Conclusion: The elderly on the whole were not fearful of dementia or of acquiring it. There was poor awareness of risks or protective factors for dementia.

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