Alzheimer's Disease

New Information on Alzheimer's
From the Alzheimer's Association

Background

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that without an effective treatment or cure, as many as 16 million seniors will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the United States by mid-century, according to their annual report,  Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, released on March 8, 2012.

The report says that caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the United States an estimated $200 billion in 2012. This includes $140 billion paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are nearly three times higher and Medicaid payments 19 times higher than for seniors without Alzheimer’s and other dementias.   Nearly 30 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias on both
Medicare and Medicaid, compared to 11 percent of individuals without these conditions.

Today, as many as 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which includes between 200,000-500,000 people under age 65 with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Experts predict that by 2030, there will be over 600,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease each year; by 2050, there will be almost a million new cases each year. 

The Association’s report details the escalating impact of Alzheimer’s disease, now the sixth leading cause of death in the country.  Most people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have one or more other serious chronic conditions and Alzheimer’s acts as a cost multiplier on these other diseases. Cognitive impairment complicates the management of care, resulting in more hospitalizations and longer hospital stays compared to individuals with the same conditions but no Alzheimer’s.

  • An estimated 800,000 individuals have Alzheimer’s and live alone, and up to half of these individuals do not have an identifiable caregiver
     
  • People with dementia who live alone are at greater risk of jeopardized health than those who live with others, including greater risk of missed or delayed diagnosis and increased risk for malnutrition and untreated medical conditions. These individuals are also at increased risk of wandering away from home unattended and for accidental death, possibly due to lack of recognition of harmful situations and delays in seeking medical attention.
     
  • A senior with Alzheimer’s and diabetes costs Medicare 81 percent more than a senior with diabetes but no Alzheimer’s.  There are 15.2 million friends and family members of individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias who provide 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $210 billion. 
     
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.  Of the 5.2 million people over age 65 with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.4 million are women, and 1.8 million are men.  Although it may appear that being female is a risk factor, more women will develop Alzheimer’s because on average, women live longer than men, thereby having more time to develop the disease.
     
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.


Recent Events

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month

National Alzheimer's Disease Month is an annual, national observance that was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The observance was begun as a way to increase public awareness and Federal research funding to find treatments and a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

  • To learn more and get involved, visit the Alzheimer's Association National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month webpage here.

Sample Legislation

  • Georgia SB 14: Creates the Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementias State Plan Task Force

Additional Resources