The Alzheimer’s Association recently released the annual report on Alzheimer’s disease, revealing some shocking facts and figures. The report illustrates the burden of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses on individuals, caregivers, our government and the nation’s healthcare system.
Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of Americans (currently 5.4 million people) with someone developing Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds. By 2050, the rate at which individuals are developing Alzheimer’s is predicted to decrease from 68 seconds to 33 seconds, with 16 million people living with the disease.
From the years 2000 to 2008, there was a decrease in the number of deaths recorded for the four major diseases, however, the percentage of those who died from Alzheimer’s disease during this time increased by 66%. Currently it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Alzheimer’s disease not only affects the patient, but the caregiver as well. From 2009 to 2011, the number of caregivers in Louisiana alone increased by 43,581, totaling over 224,000 individuals who are caring for someone with the disease. Over 255 million hours of unpaid care valued at over $3 billion were recorded in Louisiana in 2011.
In 2012, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will total an estimated $200 billion. If a person with Alzheimer’s disease also has diabetes, Medicare costs will increase by 81 percent. Considering that most people with Alzheimer’s have one or more other serious medical conditions, the cost will rise fast. At this rate, the cost of Alzheimer’s related treatments is estimated at $1.1 trillion by 2050 and Medicare and Medicaid pricing will increase nearly 500 percent.