Alzheimer’s care takes toll on patients, families and society |
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Shirley McMarlin

Alzheimer’s disease is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer,” as it eventually robs patients of the ability to communicate and interact with others and with the outside world.

Here are facts for 2019 from the Alzheimer’s Association, about the (sometimes silent) costs of the disease on patients, their loved ones and society:

By the numbers

• About 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.

• Every 65 seconds, another American develops the disease.

• Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

• One in three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

• Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 145% from 2000 to 20017.

Taking care

• Nearly half of those caring for the elderly in the United States care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Family members, friends and other unpaid helpers account for 83% of that help.

• About two-thirds of caregivers are women, and more than one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.

• About two-thirds of caregivers live with the person with dementia in the community.

• About a fourth of dementia caregivers are in the “sandwich generation” — those who care for both an elderly parent and children under age 18.

Adding it up

• The more than 16 million Americans who give unpaid Alzheimer’s or dementia care provide an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care valued at nearly $234 billion.

• Of the total lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia, 70% is borne by families, including out-of-pocket health and long-term care expenses and the value of unpaid care.

• In 2019, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $290 billion. By 2050, costs could rise to $1.1 trillion.


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