Published on: March 8, 2012
by Alzheimer’s Association
Cost to nation
In 2012, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias to American society will total an estimated $200 billion, including $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.
Average per person Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are nearly 3 times higher than for an older person without these conditions. Medicaid payments are 19 times higher. These costs will only continue to soar in the coming years given the projected rapidly escalating prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease as the baby boomers age.
Unless something is done, the care costs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias will soar from $200 billion this year to a projected $1.1 trillion (in today’s dollars) by 2050. This dramatic rise includes a 500 percent increase in combined Medicare and Medicaid spending.
Expanding Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Based on final mortality data from 2000-2008, 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.
People with Alzheimer’s living alone
An estimated 800,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s (or one in seven) live alone. People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias who live alone are exposed to higher risks—including inadequate self-care, malnutrition, untreated medical conditions, falls, wandering from home unattended and accidental deaths—compared to those who do not live alone. Of those who have Alzheimer’s and live alone, up to half of them do not have an identifiable caregiver.
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