The Alzheimer’s Association recently released Facts and Figures, an annual report that reveals the burden of Alzheimer’s and dementia on individuals, caregivers, government and the nation’s healthcare system. Every 68 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. Here are some of the sobering facts about this disease:
• 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
• Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
• More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
• Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012. Longer life expectancies and aging baby boomers will increase the numbers and percentages of Americans who will be among the oldest-old.
• Between 2010 and 2050, the oldest-old are expected to increase from 15 percent of all older people in the United States to one in every four older Americans (24 percent).This will result in an additional 15 million oldest-old people —individuals at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
• By 2050, the number of Americans age 85 years and older will nearly quadruple to 21 million.
• In 2012, the 85-years-and-older population includes about 2.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease, or 48 percent of the Alzheimer’s population age 65 and older.
• When the first wave of baby boomers reaches age 85 (in 2031), an estimated 3.5 million people age 85 and older will have Alzheimer’s.
Expanding impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Based on final mortality data from 2000 to 2008, death rates have declined for most major diseases—heart disease (-13 percent), breast cancer (-3 percent), prostate cancer (-8 percent), stroke (-20 percent) and HIV/AIDS (-29)—while deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen 66 percent during the same period.
The graying of America means the bankrupting of America—and Alzheimer’s is a major reason why.
• In 2012, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s to American society will total an estimated $200 billion, including $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.
• Average per-person Medicare costs for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are three times higher than for those without these conditions. Medicaid spending is 19 times higher.
• Unless something is done, the costs of Alzheimer’s in 2050 are estimated to total $1.1 trillion (in today’s dollars). Costs to Medicare and Medicaid will increase nearly 500 percent.
Alzheimer’s makes treating other diseases more expensive, increasing costs across the health care system.
• Most people with Alzheimer’s have one or more other serious medical conditions. Dementia complicates management of these conditions.
• A senior with diabetes and Alzheimer’s costs Medicare 81 percent more than a senior who has diabetes but no Alzheimer’s.
• Over 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
• Unpaid caregivers are primarily family members, but they also may be other relatives and friends. In 2011, these people provided an estimated 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at over $210 billion.
• Eighty percent of care provided at home is delivered by family caregivers; fewer than 10 percent of older adults receive all of their care from paid workers