The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on Economy and Families

  • For the first time, total payments for those living with this disease will exceed a quarter trillion dollars ($259 billion) (up from $236 billion)
  • 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or another dementia (up from 5.4 million in 2016)
  • Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 89% between 2000-2014 (up from 71% between 2000-2013)

Mankato Times

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — For the first time, total payments for caring for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias exceeded a quarter trillion dollars ($259 billion), according to findings from the 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, released by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The report also discusses the disease’s impact on caregivers, such as family members. In 2016, over 251,000 Minnesotans provided 286 million hours of unpaid care (total value $3.6 billion).

These contributions disproportionately come from women, who make up two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers. New findings highlighted in the report show that of all dementia caregivers who provide care for over 40 hours a week, 69 percent are women. Of those providing care to someone with dementia for more than 5 years, 63 percent are women and 37 percent are men.

The Facts and Figures report also found that the strain of caregiving produces serious physical and mental health consequences. For instance, more than one out of three (35 percent) caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities, compared to one out of five (19 percent) caregivers for older people without dementia.

Soaring Cost, Prevalence and Mortality

Findings in the report show that, for the first time, total annual payments for health care, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have surpassed a quarter of a trillion dollars ($259 billion). Additionally, despite support from Medicare, Medicaid and other sources of financial assistance, these individuals still incur high out-of-pocket costs. The average per-person out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is almost five times higher than average per-person payments for seniors without these conditions ($10,315 versus $2,232). 

Although deaths from other major causes have decreased, new data from the report shows that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased significantly. Between 2000 and 2014, deaths from heart disease decreased 14 percent, while deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 89 percent. 

Alzheimer’s By the Numbers: Additional Findings on Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

  • Of the estimated 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2017, 5.3 million people are age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 are under age 65 (younger-onset Alzheimer’s).
  • Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.3 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
  • Approximately 480,000 people—almost half a million—age 65 or older will develop Alzheimer’s dementia in the U.S. in 2017.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth-leading cause for ages 65 and older. In Minnesota, 1,628 died with Alzheimer’s in 2014, the most recent figure available.
  • Alzheimer’s remains the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. 

Cost of Paid and Unpaid Care

  • Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2017 dollars).
  • In Minnesota, the report estimated total Medicaid costs for Americans with dementia age 65 and older at $781 million for 2017.  

For those looking to learn more about this disease, join the Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conference on March 18 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. This is the premier dementia conference in the Midwest, with a full day of education and support for over 1,000 people impacted by Alzheimer’s.

About 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

The Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The report conveys the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families, government and the nation’s health care system. Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the preeminent source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues.  

About the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-Dakota Chapter

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit or call the 24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900 for support.

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