HIGHLIGHTS

Open
Grocery Coupons

Grocery Coupons

Members can print free savings coupons

Brain Health Center

Brain Health Center

Learn how to live smart and stay sharp

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Members save on e-
readers and tablets

Caring for loved ones?

Caring for loved ones?

Find the resources you need

Alzheimer's, Dementia Care to Cost U.S. $200 Billion This Year

Alzheimer's Association projects continued increases in payments as baby boomers age

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Caring for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia will cost the United States about $200 billion this year, a total that includes $140 billion paid by Medicare and Medicaid, new statistics released Thursday show.

Medicaid payments are 19 times higher for seniors with Alzheimer's and other dementias and Medicare payments for the conditions are nearly three times higher, compared to payments for other patients, according to the "2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures" report from the Alzheimer's Association.

Nearly 30 percent of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, compared to 11 percent of people without the conditions. This means that Medicare and Medicaid costs associated with Alzheimer's and other dementias will continue to rise as baby boomers age, the report said.

"Alzheimer's is already a crisis, and it's growing worse with every year," Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, said in an association news release.

"While lives affected and care costs soar, the cost of doing nothing is far greater than acting now. Alzheimer's is a tremendous cost-driver for families and for Medicare and Medicaid. This crisis simply cannot be allowed to reach its maximum scale because it will overwhelm an already overburdened system," Johns added.

Most people with Alzheimer's and other dementias have at least one other serious chronic health problem, and Alzheimer's acts as a "cost multiplier" on these other diseases, according to the report.

For example, the statistics showed a senior with diabetes and Alzheimer's costs Medicare 81 percent more than a senior with diabetes alone. And a senior with cancer and Alzheimer's costs Medicare 53 percent more than a senior with cancer alone.

Mental impairment in patients with Alzheimer's and other dementias complicates the management of care, resulting in more and longer hospital stays, the authors noted in the news release.

"This disease must be addressed on parallel tracks: supporting research to find treatments that cure, delay or prevent the disease, and offering assistance and support to the more than 5 million Americans now living with Alzheimer's and their more than 15 million caregivers," Johns said.

"This is what the National Alzheimer's Plan is all about. Caring for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias costs America $200 billion in just one year. By committing just 1 percent of that cost, $2 billion, to research, it could begin to put the nation on a path to effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure," he noted.

The report also said that 800,000 people with Alzheimer's -- one out of seven -- live alone, and that up to half of them do not have an identifiable caregiver. That puts them at increased risk for such health problems as missed or delayed diagnosis, malnutrition and untreated medical conditions. They're also at increased risk for wandering away from home unattended and for accidental death.

Alzheimer's patients who live alone tend to be older, female and have lower levels of cognitive (memory and thinking) impairment, the report noted. However, they still face major challenges in performing daily tasks such as managing money and medications, shopping and preparing meals.

"Advance planning is important for everyone, particularly for individuals who have Alzheimer's or other dementias; but for the population that has Alzheimer's and lives alone, future planning is absolutely critical," Beth Kallmyer, vice president of constituent services for the Alzheimer's Association, said in the news release.

According to the association, an estimated 5.4 million people have Alzheimer's disease, and 15.2 million of their friends and family members provide 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about Alzheimer's disease.

health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Advertisement

 

 

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Advertisement