Home > Public awareness, Statistics > 2013 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures

2013 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures

Image courtesy of Simon Howden @ http://www.freedigitalphotos.netThe Alzheimer’s Association has released some recent statistics about Alzheimer’s Disease, and they are quite staggering.  (Or, at least, in my opinion.)  What follows is a brief review of some of them, that I wanted to share with my readers.

Alzheimer’s Disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.  However, it should be noted that 1 in 3 people who die have Alzheimer’s.  That means that, while the disorder may not be the direct cause of death, it’s presence will influence how a person handles other illnesses and how those conditions progress in a body.  (For example, it may cause a person to forget to take needed medication or notify their physicians of problems.)

Last year, 15.4 million caregivers provided over 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care.  If anyone’s wondering what it would have cost to pay someone else to provide that care, that has been estimated at $216 billion.  (Yes, billion!)  This year, in 2013, Alzheimer’s will cost this country $203 billion, with that figure rising to $1.2 trillion by 2050.  (You read that right.  $1.2 trillion!)  That includes medications, trips to the doctor, costs associated with providing care, and much more.

It is estimated that 5.2 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s Disease.  Approximately 5 million of these are aged 65 years and older, with the remaining number having the younger-onset form of the disease.  As this country’s aging population increases in size, the number of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will go up accordingly.  It is estimated that an American comes down with Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds, with that number changing to once in every 33 seconds by 2050.  Unless there is a major breakthrough in medical science that will stop or significantly slow down the development of Alzheimer’s, by 2050 the number of those affected is expected to triple by 2050.

Of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s is the only one for which there is no cure, and no way to slow down its progression.  It is the sixth leading cause of death overall, and the fifth leading cause for persons over the age of 65.  It is also the only leading cause of death for which the numbers of people affected actually increased.  But, again, even this number is deceiving.  Many people who technically die from other diseases have Alzheimer’s disease, and this fact helps to determine their overall health.

Earlier, I stated that the monetary value of unpaid care provided to those with Alzheimer’s was roughly equivalent to $216.4 billion.  This is more than eight times greater than the sales for McDonald’s in 2011.  Nearly 15 percent of all caregivers live an hour or more away from their loved ones.  At least partly due to this distance, these long-distance caregivers have total expenses that are nearly twice as much as those who provide care locally.  The emotional stress of providing care to someone with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is very high.  Greater than one-third of these report symptoms of depression.  Health-care costs of these caregivers themselves was listed at $9.1 billion in 2012.

The direct costs of providing care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in this country (including health care, long-term care, and hospice care) is estimated to come to $203 billion in 2013.  $142 billion of this will consist of costs to Medicare and Medicaid.  These costs are expected to rise to $1.2 trillion in 2050, including a 50% increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending.  It is estimated that 30 percent of people with dementia are on Medicare and Medicaid, compared to 11 percent of those who do not have dementia, with average costs per person to be three times higher for Medicare and 19 times higher for Medicaid.

More information can be found at the Alzheimer’s Association website.

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  1. March 31, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Great blog. I am in the process of responding to this document too, as well as doing a comparison between the stats in the USA and Australia. Happy Easter.

    • April 1, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      Thanks, as always, for the kind words. Your own blog serves as a true inspiration.

  2. Jasmine
    March 31, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    This is one of the most informative sites on the internet. Dementia is considered a dirty word in most social circles! I am forgetting recent events, and those of the future. I have good intelligence, yet have a very huge fear of being put into an institution. I am delighted with the information here. I fell recently and am not going to have a head x-ray. The hospital is having a study & I fear the results. Why, because the extent of dementia is all too familiar to me. I am not ready to be put away. I told my Dr. 3 years ago I was having problems. Now here I am & something is also going on on right side of skull. I hit the ground hard earlier this past year. I am having problems with vision and couping with out treatment so far. I am looking for medication for help with this disease. I wish more public awareness for this disease process. Ok. Back to reading.

    • April 1, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      Thank you so much for your kind words. But, please do take care of yourself. Remember that there are some forms of dementia that are reversible, if caught soon enough. Pay particular attention to a couple of articles on subdural hematomas and normal pressure hydrocephalus. If you haven’t done so already, I would recommend that you visit my other site, What Is Dementia? at http://whatisdementia.wordpress.com. Good luck to you, whatever you decide. And please do let me know what you find out.

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