The Alzheimer’s Association recently released 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. An annual publication detailing the economic and human impact of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. A copy of this report can be found on their website at: alz.org/facts and an overview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXnZt5VMjZY. This year’s publication makes clear that Alzheimer’s is not an “emerging crisis;” it’s here.
More than 5 million Americans have this disease today, with the number expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. According to Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, one in three American seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia and 61% of 70-year olds with Alzheimer’s are expected to die within a decade, compared to 30% of 70-year-olds without Alzheimer’s disease. This trend shows no signs of abating – while other diseases have seen a welcome decrease in mortality rates, between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease skyrocketed 68%.
In addition to these stark figures, the report also demonstrates that the economic costs of Alzheimer’s – to individuals, to families and to our nation – are increasing. This year, the cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are estimated at $203 billion, an increase from $200 billion in 2012. A significant portion of this cost is spending by Medicare and Medicaid: average per person Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are nearly 3 times more than for seniors without these conditions and average per person Medicaid payments are 19 times higher.
The 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Special Report focuses on the impact of Alzheimer’s on long-distance caregivers, defined as those living more than an hour away from an individual with the disease. The report finds that the estimated 2.3 million long-distance Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers pay an even greater toll, with nearly double the out-of-pocket expense of local caregivers as well as experiencing higher levels of psychological distress and family discord. They’re also less likely to be fully informed about the disease progression and its impact on the individual with the disease and less able to participate in activities like clinical trials that may help unveil promising therapies that could slow, prevent and one day cure Alzheimer’s.
This year’s report makes clear that the Alzheimer’s crisis is upon us, and the time to act is now. Azura Memory Care supports the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Assocation in making the case that our nation takes meaningful, timely and comprehensive action to address the Alzheimer’s epidemic.