New Alzheimer’s Association Report Reveals Sharp Increases in Alzheimer’s Prevalence, Deaths and Costs of Care

71,000 Coloradans living with Alzheimer’s ~

Denver [March 20, 2018] – For the second consecutive year, total payments to care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in the United States will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars ($277 billion), which includes an increase of nearly $20 billion from last year, according to data reported in the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released today.

New findings from the report show the growing burden of Alzheimer’s on people living with the disease, their families and caregivers, as well as society at large. The number of older Americans is growing rapidly, so too is the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and the subsequent impact to the nation’s economy. By 2050, the total cost of care for Alzheimer’s is projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion.

More than 5.7 million people in the United States are living with the Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, including 71,000 Coloradans. By 2025, the Colorado total is projected to top 92,000 – a nearly 30 percent increase.

The strain on caregivers

Given the long duration of this disease, the strain on Alzheimer’s caregivers can last a number of years and produce serious declines in caregiver physical, emotional and financial well-being. 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 difficulties associated with providing this level of care are estimated to have resulted in $11.4 billion in additional healthcare costs for those same Alzheimer’s caregivers in 2017.

Already the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., the mortality from Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise. While deaths from other major causes continue to decrease, new data from the report shows that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have more than doubled, increasing 123 percent between 2000 and 2015. For context, the number of deaths from heart disease – the number one killer in the U.S. – decreased 11 percent.

Following are other key findings outlined in the report:

  • Deaths from Alzheimer’s: 1,612 Coloradans died from Alzheimer’s in 2015 (the last year measured)
  • Overall, Alzheimer’s deaths in Colorado increased 126% since 2000 – while deaths from other major diseases declined.
  • Cost of care: The total national cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars ($277 billion), an increase of nearly $20 billion since last year alone.
  • Costs in Colorado are projected at $573 million.
  • Early detection cost savings: It is estimated that even without development of a treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s, early detection through annual well-care doctor visits could save up to 15% of care costs – as much as $7 trillion of the projected $47.1 trillion cost of Alzheimer’s care over the lifespan of every person alive in the U.S. in 2018.
  • Burden on caregivers: An estimated 247,000 unpaid Colorado caregivers (family and loved ones) provided 282 million hours of care in 2017 – valued at more than $3.5 billion.

Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter is the premier source of information and support for the more than 71,000 Coloradans with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers. Through its statewide network of offices, the Alzheimer’s Association offers education, counseling, support groups and a 24-hour Helpline at no charge to families. In addition, contributions help fund advancements in research to prevent, treat and eventually conquer this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families on related legislative issues, and with health and long-term care providers. For information call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 bilingual Helpline at 800-272-3900, or visit www.alz.org/co.