For the second consecutive year, total payments to care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias 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.

In Wisconsin, the of people aged 65 and older with the disease is 110,000, and that number is expected to grow by 18.2% by the year 2025. The burden on caregivers in the state is rising as well—over 194,000 people provided unpaid care, valued at $2.75 billion in 2017. The emotional and physical toll of caregiving significantly impacts caregivers’ health. The Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s in Wisconsin will be $723 million in 2018, and that amount is expected to grow by 25.7% from 2018 to 2025.

Given the long duration of this disease, the strain on Alzheimer’s caregivers can last several 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 Alzheimer’s and other dementia caregivers in 2017.

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 America – decreased 11 percent.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in Wisconsin and America. The rising mortality rate, costs and instances of disease indicate a clear need for Wisconsin and America to continue making Alzheimer’s a state and national health care priority.

Updated Alzheimer’s Statistics

The Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the latest national and state statistics and information on Alzheimer’s prevalence, incidence, mortality, costs of care and caregiving:

Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

  • An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2018.
  • Of the estimated 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2018, 110,000 are Wisconsin residents.
  • By 2025 – just seven years from now – the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia is estimated to reach 7.1 million – an increase of almost 29 percent from the 5.5 million age 65 and older affected in 2018. Here in Wisconsin, the estimated number of individuals with Alzheimer’s will be 130,000.
  • Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.5 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
  • Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (3.4 million) are women.
  • Every 65 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.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and it is the fifth-leading cause of death for those age 65 and older. In Wisconsin, 2,087 died with Alzheimer’s in 2015, the most recent figure available.
  • As the population of the U.S. ages, Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death, and it is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Cost of Care

  • Total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $277 billion (not including unpaid caregiving) in 2018, of which $186 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid; out-of-pocket costs represent $60 billion of the total payments, while other costs total $30 billion.
  • In Wisconsin, the report estimated total Medicaid costs for Americans with dementia age 65 and older is $723 million for 2018. In the next seven years, that figure is expected to increase 25.7%.
  • Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2018 dollars).
  • In 2017, the lifetime cost of care for a person living with dementia was $341,840 – with 70 percent of this cost borne by families directly through out-of-pocket costs and the value of unpaid care.

Caregiving

  • Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women, and one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
  • Forty-one percent of caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less.

Full text of the Facts and Figures report, can be viewed at alz.org/facts. For multi-media support of this year’s report, click here.