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The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on Caregivers and the Economy

The Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, has designated June as Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. In observance of this month, Home Care Assistance is advocating for increased awareness of Alzheimer’s disease by sharing significant facts and projections of Alzheimer’s and the remarkable impact it will have on our society in the future.

caregiver daughter with senior father with alzheimersWorldwide, 47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States alone, 5.3 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, 200,000 of whom are under the age of 65. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that the total number of Americans living with the disease could double to 16 million by the year 2050, meaning that someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds. Currently, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds, an already astonishing figure.

Alzheimer’s disease, currently incurable, is a neurodegenerative disease that kills brain cells. As the disease progresses, it affects memory, behavior and the ability to perform routine tasks, among other things. The disease not only takes a mental, physical, emotional and financial toll on the person suffering, but it also takes a toll on family caregivers and loved ones.

Financially, caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s can be burdensome. In 2015 alone, care for Alzheimer’s and dementia-related patients in the U.S. cost a total of $226 billion. Medicare and Medicaid made up $153 billion of this total, and the amount spent by Medicare for Alzheimer’s and dementia care totaled 20% of its’ total spending. In Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, The Lewin Group projected that Medicare and Medicaid spending would reach $765 billion for Alzheimer’s and dementia care by 2050. Between now and the year 2050, $20.8 trillion will be spent caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

The Lewin Group also reported that if a treatment was found by the year 2025 that delayed Alzheimer’s by five years, Medicare and Medicaid spending would decrease $121 billion in the first five years after the treatment became available. The Alzheimer’s Association also noted that a treatment found then would result in 5.7 million fewer Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2050.

Without change, Alzheimer’s will continue to affect a significant amount of the aging population and impact the emotional and financial wellbeing of our society. You can do your part to raise awareness this month by wearing the color purple and opening up the discussion on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

At Home Care Assistance, we are already doing our part by taking steps to boost brain health through The Cognitive Therapeutics Method. The Cognitive Therapeutics Method is a science-based brain health activities program designed to delay the onset and slow the progression of cognitive decline. Home Care Assistance proudly trains caregivers in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method so that clients can receive one-on-one mental stimulation as well as support with basic care and activities of daily living. While cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, there are proactive ways to stay cognitively healthy for longer.

As a reminder, we are hosting a webinar for health and senior care professionals, “Dementia Examined: Exploring Approaches for Treatment”, for CE credit. Led by Patricia Spilman, Senior Staff Scientist at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the webinar will provide an overview of the diagnostic criteria for dementia with an emphasis on the cognitive, behavioral and emotional issues that accompany the various forms of the disorder. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, July 8 at 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern. To register for the webinar, please visit