POSTED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 12:45pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 12:49pm
United States — The Alzheimer’s Association recently released its annual Facts and Figures report on Alzheimer’s disease.
It shockingly reveals the burden of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses on individuals, caregivers, our government and the nation’s healthcare system.
In 2012, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will total an estimated $200 billion. Medicare costs for a person with Alzheimer’s are nearly 3 times higher than for a person without these conditions. Medicaid payments are 19 times higher. These costs will only continue to soar in the coming years given the projected escalating prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. Unless something is done, the costs of Alzheimer’s in 2050 are estimated to total $1.1 trillion and costs to Medicare and Medicaid will increase nearly 500 percent.
In addition to the soaring costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s, the cost of treating other diseases has become more expensive as well. If a person with Alzheimer’s disease also has diabetes, Medicare costs increase by 81 percent. Considering that most people with Alzheimer’s have one or more other serious medical conditions, costs are rising tremendously—and fast.
While the government and healthcare system are feeling the effects of this disease, perhaps the largest burden falls on the caregivers who continue to devote themselves to loved ones with Alzheimer’s. 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 Alzheimer’s. Over 255 million hours of unpaid care valued at over $3 billion were recorded for Louisiana in 2011. These numbers will only continue to rise.
Costs are not the only thing increasing rapidly. Someone develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds. In 2050, that rate will have increased to every 33 seconds. Currently, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, that number will be up to 16 million. This significant increase in the instances of the disease also means a significant increase in the number of individuals who will die because of Alzheimer’s. From 2000 to 2008, America saw a 13% decrease in deaths related to heart disease, the leading cause of death. A decrease was also recorded for four other major diseases. For Alzheimer’s disease, the number of deaths did not decrease. Instead they increased by an astounding 66%. Currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s could quickly become number one.
Currently over 15,000 people in the Greater Baton Rouge areas have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related disorder, and there are no effective treatments or a cure for this disease. There are approximately 73,000 people in the state of Louisiana with Alzheimer’s – and the number is projected to increase to over 10.6 million by 2025. 1 in 8 people between the ages of 65-85 develop Alzheimer’s disease and those numbers increase to 1 in 2 people after the age of 85.
Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area serves individuals residing in the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, and St. Helena. Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area is a local, non-profit organization.