The Alzheimer's Association Report - Increasing Costs and Impact

The Alzheimer’s Association released a report on March 7, 2017 with updated statistics related to the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia and the growing cost and impact of the disease on families and the economy.  Some startling findings:

  • Unless a cure or improved treatments are discovered, the number of people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.3 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
  • Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s dementia. By 2050, it will increase to every 33 seconds.
  • Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia are women.
  • The total cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $259 billion, of which $175 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid. This excludes unpaid caregiving.  This number is projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.

Under some circumstances, Medicare will pay for the first 100 days in a nursing facility and may pay for hospice care for people with dementia.  However, it does not pay for the ongoing skilled nursing or custodial care required.  That means that there are only 3 ways to pay for the long-term care needed as the disease progresses:  private pay, long term care insurance, or Medicaid.  That leaves many Americans providing unpaid care in the form of physical, emotional and financial support.  The Report found that in 2016, Alzheimer’s caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care.

In April, our firm will sponsor the Alzheimer’s Association New Mexico’s Dancing Stars Gala.  Besides being a great event, we hope that our contribution helps to fund research to find a cure or a possible treatment for this devastating disease.