Death Rates and Costs of Alzhiemer's Care Continue to Increase, says New Study

Mar 21, 2018

Families are left with no choice but to pay the increasing costs of caring for their loved ones with Alzhiemer's Disease.
Credit https://alz.org/

A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that Central New Yorker’s are feeling the impacts of the disease more than they may realize. The report says more people are dying of Alzheimer's and costs for care are skyrocketing.

Around 400,000 people in New York state have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. This new report focuses on an aspect people haven’t thought about, the economic impact, $277 billion for care per year. And Alzheimer’s Association’s Central New York CEO Cathy James says New Yorkers are feeling it more than any other state.

"Even if we don't have a family member that is currently impacted by it, we are impacted by the fact that cost related Alzheimer's disease in New York state are the highest in the nation. Economically, this is impacting everyone across the country and impacting, economically, New York state even more so."
 

The report also details the rising prevalence. Over the past 15 years, Alzheimer’s deaths have doubled. James notes there are a few things working against Alzheimer’s treatment compared to other infamously deadly diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and HIV.
 

"Alzheimer's disease is one of the only top ten diseases that does not have a way to slow down the progression, cure it, or be able to identify it in its earlier states, so that is one of the things that certainly is contributing to death rates in Alzheimer's diseases continue to rise."

Alzhiemer's info-graph
Credit https://alz.org/

That’s not to say that nothing can be done. Medicare wellness has built-in provisions for cognitive screenings. And James says precursor’s for the disease, known as biomarkers, can be identified.

"Are there there things within the body that are telling us that there are changes going on in the brain long before we start seeing symptoms? Researchers are thinking that the brain is undergoing and the body is undergoing those changes decades, perhaps, before we even start seeing those physical symptoms."

She recommends anyone noticing changes in themselves or someone else to contact a health professional. A list of 10 signs of Alzheimer’s can be found at alz.org/cny.

UPDATED ALZHEIMER'S STATISTICS

The Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the latest national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s prevalence, incidence, mortality, costs of care and caregiving:

Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

  • An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2018.
  • By 2025 – just seven years from now – the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia is estimated to reach 7.1 million – an increase of almost 29 percent from the 5.5 million age 65 and older affected in 2018.
  • Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.5 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
  • Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (3.4 million) are women.
  • Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s dementia. By mid-century, someone in the U.S. will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and it is the fifth-leading cause of death for those age 65 and older.
  • As the population of the U.S. ages, Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death, and it is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Cost of Care

  • Total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $277 billion (not including unpaid caregiving) in 2018, of which $186 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid; out-of-pocket costs represent $60 billion of the total payments, while other costs total $30 billion.
  • Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2018 dollars).
  • In 2017, the lifetime cost of care for a person living with dementia was $341,840 – with 70 percent of this cost borne by families directly through out-of-pocket costs and the value of unpaid care.

Caregiving

  • Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women, and one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
  • Forty-one percent of caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less.
  • It is estimated that the U.S. has approximately half the number of certified geriatricians that it currently needs, and only nine percent of nurse practitioners report having special expertise in gerontological care.