Cost of Care for Alzheimer's will Increase by $20 over previous year

Henrietta Brewer
March 21, 2018

"Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease", said report author Christopher Taylor, who works as an epidemiologist with the CDC.

However, modelling by Alzheimer's Research UK and the London School of Economics found that the introduction of just five new treatments is likely to pose "a significant practical and financial challenge to the current health system", given the "sheer number" of people who will have the condition.

"Alzheimer's is a burden that's only going to get worse", Fargo said.

For the second year in a row, total payments to care for those living with Alzheimer's and other dementias are projected to surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars and this year's figure shows an increase of almost $20 billion over last year's. Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from Alzheimer's disease as recorded on death certificates increased 123 percent, while deaths from the number one cause of death (heart disease) decreased 11 percent. In the second year, the total payments for the care of Alzheimer's patients will reach to the quarter of a trillion dollars that includes a total increase of $20 billion from last year.

Early diagnosis, even without biomarker evidence for a specific underlying cause, will also yield significant cost savings in medical and long-term care for both the USA government and diagnosed individuals.

"In 2017, 16 million Americans provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care in the form of physical, emotional and financial support - a contribution to the nation valued at $232.1 billion", the Association says. They noted that 41 percent of the care givers to Alzheimer's disease patients had an income of $50,000 a year or less but ended up spending $10,697 from their own pockets compared to $5,758 spent by care givers to other diseases. Families bear 70 percent of that cost through out-of-pocket expenses and the value of unpaid care.

Today, Alzheimer's is recognized as the 6th biggest cause of death among Americans. And that takes a toll on caregivers, to the tune of $11.4 billion in added health care costs a year ago, according to the report.

The United States has about half as many certified specialists in the care of older patients than it needs, and only 9 percent of nurse practitioners report having expertise in old-age care, according to the report. Controlling heart disease, diabetes and other conditions early saves money in the long run.

With the population growth, Alzheimer's disease becomes a major cause for many deaths in the U.S. It is in the top 10 causes of death which have no option to get treated, cured or even to get slow down.

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