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Report shows growing cost and impact of Alzheimer’s

Medicaid costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s soar to $685M in Kentucky alone

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 13, 2017) – 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. The report was released today by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The report also discusses the disease’s impact on caregivers, such as family members. “Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is exceptionally demanding,” said DeeAnna Esslinger, Executive Director for the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter. “New data shows that caregivers for Alzheimer’s and dementia may experience increased difficulties and detriments to their health than caregivers for individuals with certain other conditions.”

More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care, such as physical, emotional and financial support, for the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia. In 2016, Alzheimer’s caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care, which the report valued at $230.1 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 provided care for more than 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. Also, depression and anxiety are more common among dementia caregivers than among people providing care for individuals with certain other conditions.

“In Kentucky, more than 30 percent of caregivers are also caring for a child or grandchild,” Ms. Esslinger stated. “Being the primary caregiver for both a person with dementia and children, can compound the stress and strain a caregiver may experience.”

Soaring Cost, Prevalence and Mortality

The Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the latest national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s prevalence, incidence, use and costs of care, caregiving 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, individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias still incur high out-of-pocket costs. The average per-person out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are 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.

· Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s dementia. By mid-century, someone in the U.S. will develop the disease every 33 seconds.

· Approximately 480,000 people—almost half a million—age 65 or older will develop Alzheimer’s dementia in the U.S. in 2017.

· Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (3.3 million) are women.

· Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth-leading cause of death for those ages 65 and older. In Kentucky, 1,523 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 national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $259 billion (excludes unpaid caregiving), of which $175 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid alone.

· 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 Kentucky, the report estimated total Medicaid costs for Americans with dementia age 65 and older at $685 million for 2017. In the next eight years, that figure is expected to increase 34.3 percent to nearly $920 million.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers free resources to guide families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, including:

· Alzheimer’s Association Helpline (1-800-272-3900): This toll-free 24/7 Helpline is the only one of its kind; the Helpline is staffed by masters-level counselors and provides information and guidance in more than 170 languages and dialects.

· The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center (alz.org/care): This site provides information and easy access to resources, such as:

o Community Resource Finder — Find local resources including doctors that treat and diagnose.

o Care Team Calendar — Coordinate caregiving responsibilities among family and friends.

o Safety Center — Access information and resources for safety inside and outside of the home, wandering and getting lost, and dementia and driving.

· ALZConnected™, powered by the Alzheimer’s Association (alzconnected.org): This is the first social networking community designed for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. ALZConnected is a specialized social network that allows members to connect and communicate with people who understand their unique challenges 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can also pose questions and offer solutions to dementia-related issues, create public and private groups organized around a dedicated topic, and contribute to message boards. ALZConnected combines the features of many social networking sites and the popular Alzheimer’s Association’s message boards. Members create “connections” by extending and receiving invitations.

The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to assist families in a variety of ways to best meet their needs, including local programs such as:

· Support groups: Peer- or professionally facilitated groups for caregivers, families and persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and related dementia.

· Education Programs: The Alzheimer’s Association provides many opportunities for learning and support. Contact the Alzheimer’s Association locally at alz.org/kyin to find the events, programs and workshops nearest you.

Full text of the Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report can be viewed at alz.org. The report will also appear in the April 2017 issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.